Seismic Shock, a Yorkshire-based student (real name Joseph Weissman) who received an alarming visit from local police late last year. Seismic, a Christian, had been heavily critical of Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer on his blog, alleging that Sizer associated with Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.
On 29 November, he received a visit from local police, who advised him to remove certain posts from his blog. The police officers maintained that this was an “informal chat”, but the blogger, understandably intimidated, agreed to remove his original Blogger site, while maintaining his WordPress blog.
Index on Censorship has made numerous attempts to contact West Yorkshire Police in order to clarify a) under what authority the blogger was visited by police and b) what potential breach of law had been commited by the blogger that warranted such a visit.
So far, no explanation has been offered.
Meanwhile, Stephen Sizer has seemingly been gloating about the visit on another site:
Index on Censorship will continue to demand a response from police.
UPDATE: This just in: “A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “As a result of a report of harassment, which was referred to us by Surrey Police, two officers from West Yorkshire Police visited the author of the blog concerned. The feelings of the complainant were relayed to the author who voluntarily removed the blog. No formal action was taken.”
This begs a question; was any attempt made in the investigation to establish whether any material posted on Seismic Shock could conceivably be construed as harassment? And was any consideration given to free expression and critical debate?