Intimidating Norwegian blogger failed

Monday, February 19, 2007 at 4:21 | Posted in Bloggers' rights, Blogosphere, censorship, Freedom of speech | 4 Comments
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The Norwegian blogger Jarle Bergersen wrote in December about the marketing procedures and especially some cold calls he had received from persons trying to promote the services of Nettkatalogen.no. He wrote that their telephone marketing was less than serious and the persons calling him did not have adequate knowledge of the services they were promoting. Nettkatalogen had an odd way to react to Bjarne’s post: they had their lawyer write a letter to Bjarne’s boss.

Bjarne Jarle works for Trygg og Sikker, a Norwegian company marketing various security devices. He had received the cold calls from Nettkatalogen in his capacity as an employee in the marketing department of Trygg og Sikker but he posted his critical remarks in his private blog. So why did Nettkatalogen choose to have their lawyer Peter L. Brechan from Haavind Vislie legal firm to write to his boss at Trygg og Sikker?

Bjarne Jarle thinks they were trying to intimidate him to removing the post through his employer:

Det kan virke som om Nettkatalogen har fått det for seg at de kan true vekk innhold på nett. I dette tilfellet forsøker de altså å bruke min arbeidsgiver til å presse meg til å fjerne innhold i bloggen min de ikke setter pris på. Det ville kanskje ha fungert hvis jeg stod mindre sterkt i den jobben jeg har. Jeg kan spesielt se for meg problemer hvis jeg skulle ha vært så uheldig å ha en litt “dårlig” sjef og en jobb i et stort multinasjonalt selskap som ikke ønsker mye “bølger”.

Luckily for Bjarne Jarle, he seems to have a good relationship with his boss and his position in the company is steady enough so this attempted intimidation did not work. Things certainly could have gone much worse for him.

Thanks to Geirsan for bringing the incident to my attention.

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4 Comments »

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  1. Here’s another interesting article on the question of the limits of expression in the blogging world: Teacher publishes info about pupil in blog (Lærer publiserte elevopplysninger i blogg).
    Seems a Norwegian teacher has written things about some of his secondary school pupils in his private blog in one of the major Norwegian web portals. One of the pupils became aware of it and reported the blog to his majors.
    Nothing is said about how confidential the information was, but this is the first time in Norwegian blogging history that a teacher has been disciplined because of his limited ability to discern between official, personal and private. Now the teacher has been put on a refusal to work, and will most likely be disciplined. Some say that he will be sacked.
    The gut reaction is that the teacher has to be in the wrong and that he should have shown better judgement. But at the same time: Blogging is a new way of communicating, and who of us have any experience in or education in freedom of speech and the free press? Many of us consider our blogs our own private space, and might be blinded by fascination over the possibilities that the blogosphere give us. Discerning between public space, personal and private is something we don’t have much experiene with.
    To show you the dilemma. I travel a bit with my students, and we have set up a blog about life at school and travel reports: gv06.galeogglobale.no. Who is to decide what is acceptable and not in a blog like that? Is blogging off limits as a teaching method because of the interests of the students taking part in it? Should we have a written statement from each students about what they accept or not being posted in the blogs?
    I even write my own travel reports, and some of the best stories are about what the students experience. Are my reports off limit?
    Why don’t you take a look at my reports from South East Asia reports from March 2006 and see what you think?
    I find this quite an interesting topic, but a scary one.

  2. Thanks, I’ll return to this later.

  3. Hi there Larko, thanks for posting about this. I see you get my name right at the start of your article, but then you start calling me Bjarne. Its an ok name, but its not mine 😉

    Dagladet.no – the online magazine of one of norways larger tabloid newspapers run the story about the lawsuite letters from Nettkatalogen and Bedriftsguiden in the weekend: http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2007/02/17/492334.html – The title translates to “Trying to silence blogger with lawsuits”.

    Bedriftsguiden, the smaller of the companies (with the biggest lawyer firm, for some reason) have gone on the attack and is trying to discredit me through their blogs, with half thruths and straight out lies. But it fits in with their deception in how they run their company. They used to be a single entity registered on the owner in Norway, now they are what is callled a NUF (Norsk utenlandsk foretak) which means, norwegian company abroad. They have registred as a LTD in England, and with the same guy that used to run the small company in Norway as the main share holder (of a whopping 1000 Pound) and then they have published the big news of Bedriftsguiden.no being bought by BedriftsGuiden LTD. Its really the story of the emporors new cloths…

  4. I am sorry, Jarle. I was writing this story at 4 o’clock in the morning but that is no excuse for mixing the name. I have now corrected it.

    Thank you for this new info. I am certainly going to look at it deeper.


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