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« LOG 11.10.07 [FR] Mon frère, né en octobre 1944 à Amsterdam | Main | Die Mohrin hat ihre Schuldigkeit getan... Hirsi Ali unerwünscht in Holland 2.10.07 [DE] »

LOG 7.10.07 [EN] Ulfkotte Internet censorship; Relaunch E-Urban; EU roaming charges victory.

Sunday night. What did I do, last week? And what is to be done next?

1191208-1076809-thumbnail.jpgI helped cover the new Hirsi Ali hype. (See here and here, all in German. This one is in Dutch.). I am convinced, that it should not be about her right to protection (she has), nor about the financing of it. I tried to discover the real responsibilities for the situation of this moment. And struggled to define what is originated by Dutch culture and traditions, and what not.

Buruma%20Cover.jpgBy chance, I got this week a copy [EN] of Ian Buruma's American 2005 book "Murder in Amsterdam" (Amazon link), that analyses, in a superb way, what was and is at stake in Holland, and in Europe and the world, on this subject. Buruma will be reviewed here later.

Ulfkotte internet censorship and what to do against it 

I received a nearly desperate call of one of the bloggers who are persecuted in Germany by Udo Ulfkotte. Legal tactics have for consequence that individual antiracist bloggers are now in danger of being blooded to a financial death by legal invoices (from lawyers as well as from Ulfkotte and his Pax Europa Organization).

It is a cause of principle: Freedom of opinion, freedom of linking to other people's opinions. The Internet is something different from traditional media. It is interactive. People who feel the need to contradict something, can react, either on the site of their "detractor", or on their own site, and link to it.

Ulfkotte.jpgUlfkotte has found a loophole in German jurisdiction. He sues other bloggers for "Verleumdung" (defamation), when they call him a "racist". Even if Udo Ulfkotte does not agree, and invokes "demographic" reasons for his islam-bashing, the opinion, that Ulfkotte's ramblings are of a racist nature, can be perfectly sustained. In other countries, where legislation is not narrowed by post-1945 fears of nazist revival, an authority on Islam-Western relations like Olivier Roy, has been able to freely characterise as "racist" a maverick French philosopher (Robert Redeker), who wrote a perfectly "ulfkottean" article in the Paris daily 'Le Figaro'. (Olivier Roy in 'Esprit', November 2006 [FR]). Thazt is why Germany urgently should modernize its legislation on the protection of personal integrity in the media, especially ont the internet.

Proof of the fact, that Ulfkotte abuses of these provisions that were originally intended to guard against new Nazism, to silence his critics from the left, is the fact, that he doesn't undertake anything against those who defamate him from the right. (Examples in At Home in Europe, october 3, 2007). Such an abuse should incitate German parliament and Courts, to correct old provisions in order to make them appliable to the web-aera.

Those, who stand up so vehemently for "the freedom to offend" (vide Danish Mohammed Cartoons debate, as well as Ajaan Hirsi Ali's statements to that effect), should take action here against Ulfkotte and his organization. And the freedom-loving bloggers, who are upset by the surge of xenophobic and extreme-right blogging, should also do so now. 

 So, the only thing that is left to do next, is to organise a public action of bloggers (from left and right) to make Ulfkotte and Pax Europa stop their legal advocacy against freedom of expression on the Net. On the 15th of November, in Frankfurt, a provisional hearing by the Court will decide about the procedure to follow.

Time is short. An appeal at the European Court should be envisaged. I brood on measures to make at least the chances of both protagonists more equal. But time is short.

Relaunch of E-Urban website of local urban redevelopment actors 

Time is short, for next week I will participate in the Istanbul Conference of world Architects organization INTA. It is about the interaction of social urban development and archtects/urbanists. A fascinating subject. And a good opportunity to sound Istanbul (Orhan Pamuk wrote a Nobel-Prize winning and dreamy book about the 7 million-strong city). And perhaps also so, to get bettter informed about the stakes of an eventual Turkish accession to the European Union.

Next are visits to Belgrade and, perhaps, Hungary. The Kosovo dispute merits a plunge into the Serb world of frustrations and active mulling of alternatives among the modern Belgrade young scene. On the 4th of November, I am due in Berlin, at the URBACT European annual Conference of Cities in action.

All this is accompanied by a revival of the E-Urban Site1191208-1076826-thumbnail.jpg

A revival, operated mainly by my hands. European Urban policies are in dire straights. Cities and regions should unite to make continuing urban renovation and emancipation policies possible.

EU roaming charges victory 

My slight contribution (see under 'roaming charges' in my Euroblogs, [EN], [FR], [DE] and [NL]) to the reform of European  "roaming charges" (costs for appeals from and to mobile telephones in Europe from and to different countries/providers) has some reason to be celebrated: Finally, on September 30, all providers are obliged to apply the European maximum tariffs of 39 cts p/Minute for calling and 23 cts p/Minute for receiving an international call. This means a 60% reduction of costs, coming too late for holiday roamings, but nevertheless welcome. The more so, while costs will continue to be capped at lower levels during the coming years.

SMS- and GPRS (internet) roaming have still to be tackled. If providers do not limit themselves, measures have been announced this week in Brussels, to discipline them.

Vodafone.gifI celebrate above all this proof of the capability of EU-cooperation, to get provider-consumer relations right on this issue. For the odds were not small: A formal, well financed campaign of big and smaller providers like Vodafone (GB) and France Telecom has been raging. But they did not prevail against Swedish Eurocommissioner Viviane Reding (, October 2). This case is a weapon against Euroscepticism. It should be used. 

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