Stifling Free Speech – Shame on you Mr. Lyons

As you know if you’ve read my last couple of entries, Daniel Lyons has written some anti-Lotus pieces. He’s the journalist that wrote about the decline and fall of Lotus Notes nearly seven years ago. Well, Lotus has neither declined NOR has it fallen, in fact it’s only gotten stronger. So what do you do when your prediction doesn’t come true? You write another anti-Lotus piece.

That’s fine. He is entitled to his opinion. Quite frankly I don’t find his facts to hold a lot of water. Especially when he uses Radicati research to support his claims. Research we KNOW is fallible. That’s neither here nor there. He can write his piece, and I have the right not to like it. That’s what is great about free speech. But, Mr. Lyons has started the ball rolling on something that truly is stifling to free speech and the checks and balances that journalism should have.

A prominient Lotus community member sent him an email criticizing the article. At that point, Forbes contacted his employer’s PR firm to complain. The problem I have here is that Mr. Lyons cannot take criticism, so he attacks the individual through his employer and PR channels. The individual didn’t blog about ANYTHING employer related. He blogged about Lyons, and sent Lyons an email. Unless he physically threatened Mr. Lyons in the email, why go and complain to the employer or PR firm?

When you are a journalist, you should be prepared to get criticism about your work, if you cannot take that criticism, don’t write the article, it’s that simple. I have the right to question your “facts” and your intent. I have the right to respond in print, on the web, or in an email. I have the right to believe that you are wrong, you have the right to disagree. If you cannot handle that Mr. Lyons, then you shouldn’t be a journalist.

I’ll completely defend your right to print what you want, but anyone reading your articles should be able to respond in kind without fear of that kind of retribution. That’s what free speech is about.

Sorry Volker, it was great advice, but I couldn’t help myself this time…