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Satire site claims victory in ‘informal’ censorship battle

Small steps and giant leaps

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The Metropolitan Police have backed down in a row over a satirical Web site which was shut down following complaints from members of the public.

Police had requested that the hosts of Thinkofthechildren.co.uk shut down the site alleging that the content could "incite violence".

However, it was reactivated earlier this week in a direct challenge to police requests.

The man behind the site, Paul Carr, said he wanted police to obtain a formal warrant to close down the site - or allow him to continue publishing his satirical work. At the time he said he made his stand in a bid to "safeguard the right to freedom of speech on the Internet".

Now, it appears he has won his battle.

An update posted on ThinkofTheChildren reports that its host, Host Europe, will not pull the site so long as it remains in its current format.

However, if it carries content that contravenes UK law...then Host Europe said it "would have no option to remove the site to avoid being held criminally liable for it contents".

Mr Carr adds that the police have agreed not to investigate the site further "unless they receive fresh complaints about it". Even then, it appears police would have to obtain a warrant first to enforce the closure of the site.

Said Mr Carr in a statement on his site: "So, there you have it. One small step for me, one giant leap for the fight against informal censorship."

In a statement Host Europe said that following certain amendments to the site they have allowed it to "remain within the public domain on this occasion".

It added: "Host Europe would act in the same manner [ie, pull the site] if we were to receive further requests from the police relating to any of the sites currently Hosted by Host Europe whose content contravened UK law. ®

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