Australia attempts to close offensive US website

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The Australian Human Rights Commission is threatening legal action against a US-based 'satirical' website, which it says is encouraging racial hatred against Aborigines.

The Commission says it has had more than 20 complaints about an article on the Encyclopaedia Dramatica website. It says the article is in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975.

Site owner Joseph Evers defends the article in a blog post. He sees the ability to accuse complete strangers of 'raping their young', amongst other things, as one of the hallmarks of a civilised society.

"We will keep publishing this content and our Australian users will be able to view it up until the point that your God-forsaken government blocks it with their soon-to-be-implemented secret list of banned material... You really want Soviet-style communism as your future?" he says.

"While I act in complete compliance with both the civil and criminal codes of the United States of America, and am assured the right of free speech according to our Constitution (which, if not the greatest political document in the entire history of law, is certainly on the top five) I can personally be jailed and fined for the violation of this law."

There is a precedent - in 2002, the decidedly American publisher Dow Jones was found to have defamed an Australian resident, and had to pay him damages.

Google has already decided the page is all a bit much, and removed links to it in January following legal action from an Aboriginal man.