Credit crunch censorship

Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne very nearly lost his job recently after he was accused of ‘talking down’ the pound. He’s managed to ride the storm, but it was a close-run thing. Osborne should of course be able to say what he likes, but it’s not exactly a free speech issue, is it?

In Latvia, however, things are a little different. Journalist Juris Kaza got in touch to tell us of the case of Dmitrijs Smirnovs, a lecturer in accounting and finance, who, in the same week as Osborne found himself in hot water, actually found himself in jail after making critical remarks about the Latvian banking system in a panel discussion organised by newspaper Ventas Balss.

Smirnovs said that excessive lending, largely by Swedish-owned banks, had put Latvia in a precarious position and it was his opinion that people shouldn’t keep their money in banks nor in Latvian lats. According to press reports, police are preparing criminal proceedings against him for spreading false information that could destabilise the Latvian financial system.

Smirnovs spent two days in custody after being arrested. He’s now out of prison, but forbidden from leaving the country.

Meanwhile the Mirror is reporting that Conservative leader David Cameron is ‘distancing himself’ from George Osborne.