Alabama-based blogger Roger Shuler was finally released conditionally on 26 March after five months in detention on a contempt of court charge for refusing to rid his blog, Legal Schnauzer, of allegedly defamatory posts about the son of a former Alabama governor.
Shuler asked his wife, Carol Shuler, to remove the articles because he could not bear the prison conditions any longer. His release will not be definitive until the court decides that all the defamatory material has been removed.
“Shuler complied with the judge’s demands out of concern for his well-being,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “The court order nonetheless still constitutes prior censorship. It is unacceptable that this blogger has had to renounce his freedom to inform for the sake of his physical freedom.”
“Regarded as unconstitutional by specialists such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, this court order is yet another aberration in the land of the First Amendment. We call for this publication ban to be lifted and for Shuler to be freed unconditionally.”