Comparative Security of the Keyboard Encourages Abuse

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Isle of Man is hardly a ‘hot-bed’ of political violence which makes it all the more surprising that the Manx Treasury Minister, Eddie Teare MHK, has had to offer a reward to try to catch the person who several months ago sent threats to his home address, obviously with the intent to intimidate both him and his family.

As the Minister indicates the perpetrator seems to have succeeded in his/her objective as Mr Teare is quoted in the article below saying that:

‘It has had a profound effect on my family’.

Link:

https://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/reward-offered-to-identify-poison-pen-author-do-you-recognise-the-handwriting-1-7367715

People who place themselves in the public arena quite rightly attract criticism on occasion. They may advance a view, or in the case of politicians be pursuing a policy, that is unpopular to some.

The relevant anonymity on internet forums and anonymous comments pages feed a narrative that to be abusive sometimes in the most disgusting personal manner is acceptable even amusing. I don’t doubt their will be some sick individuals who revel in the discomfort of the Minister and his family

Of course it is generally only a small proportion of persons which take the argument down to the level of pejoratives and outright abuse but often those who overstep the mark see a person’s family as an easy target to extend the injurious nature of that which they are attempting.

Eventually the comparative ‘coward’s security’ behind the internet keyboard is not enough and emboldened they, or others, take it a step further and we get a situation (fortunately rare) such as Mr. Teare has experienced.

Its time that more reasoned debate, rather than pejorative, innuendo and family attack was the norm.

Freedom of speech is a great bonus in this society and some people require anonymity to have the confidence to articulate a view. However if we accept that anonymity should be respected in relation to public comment then that comment should not cross the line from being acerbic or constructive to being abusive and threatening.

The Police failure, no doubt in extremely difficult circumstances, to apprehend the person attempting to intimidate a government Minister and his family is a wake up call to us all.

I hope we will see a ‘solid stand’ from both politicians and public in support of Mr. Teare.

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League

20/07/15

THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League was established in 1961and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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