Libel chill

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Libel chill is a classic tactic undertaken by an organization that wishes to silence its enemies. It consists of threatening to file libel actions that would be expensive to defend, not in order to win damages, but to prevent some truth from being revealed. A classic example from the Wikipedia mailing list is James Wales explaining how he intimidates others from filing claims against the Wikimedia Foundation:

"in order to file a legal action, he or she would have to reveal his or her true identity, which would then enable us to finally take legal action to permanently ban them from the website, as well as providing an opportunity for me to file a libel claim against him." - Wales [1]

In other words, any person who so much as contests the Wikimedia policies or donation strategies as being legal under the laws, even of their own country, is to be instantly intimidated and forbidden from responding even to comments about themselves. This would seem to restrict the right to libel to those who are part of the insider culture/sysop power structure who perform these "bans".

In some countries, like Indonesia, libel chill is a powerful tool of oppression. There, as of August 2004, "three journalists face charges that could land them in jail for allegedly libeling a well-known Indonesian businessman." - source IFEX [2].

Because of the nature of its work revealing corporate abuses, the Consumerium Governance Organization can expect to very often be the target of such chill. Hopefully it will not pre-emptively employ libel chill as Wikimedia does, but will have a proper legal strategy to avoid publishing libellous statements by contributors (but especially not by officers and directors, as often happens at Wikimedia), and another proper strategy to avoid using any self-escalating tactics like the above.

Yes. Initial plans are to use RCI to avoid libel suits.