Friday, July 28, 2006

Censorship or privacy protection?

Another small skirmish in the battles over genetically modified crops has been playing out in France. A French court has ordered Greenpeace to take down webpages identifying the location of fields growing genetically modified crops. Greenpeace says it is censorship. The court said the environment advocacy group were invading the farmers' privacy. They've also protested the decision by going into one of the fields concerned and cutting an X in a circle into the crop.

Greenpeace France spokesman, Arnaud Apoteker, says "As we are now forbidden to publish these maps of GE maize on our webpage, we have gone into the fields and marked the field for real." Greenpeace reckon that EU regulations make it an obligation for member states to maintain publicly accessible registers of the location of GM crop growth. The words 'irritated judge', 'contempt', 'court' and 'of' come to mind, though not necessarily in that order.

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