The plan by Special Minister of State Eric Abetz to crack down on political bloggers is causing shivers in cyberspace. Bloggers and spammers could be forced to put their names to political commentary in a bid to close a loophole in the nation’s electoral laws, reports Misha Schubert in The Age.
Stirred by the appearance of such sites as www.johnhowardlies.com and http//www.liarsforhoward.org/, Betz has flagged a clampdown on web publishers who refuse to identify a person who authorises their content. Bloggers are waiting nervously to see the draft legislation. The new rules will be good if they can stops party stooges using phony organisations to spread propaganda, says one blogger, but it’s going to be “a nice little earner” if they can slap a $5000 fine on every blogger in the country. A $5000 fine would be a death sentence for many a blogger.