A leading Swedish newspaper has been forced to remove its online forum after it was found guilty of inciting racism when Nazi comments were posted to the site.

Death threats were made against Jews by users of Aftonbladet's comment forum in October 2000. Last month, a court found it responsible for the offence of "agitating against an ethnic group".

The comments were not deleted from the moderated site at the time because of technical problems, though they were removed later.

Drew Cullen, writing for The Register, said: "We disagree with this line of argument. We don't use the blind carrier defence - telephone communication companies are not responsible for crimes committed by people using their telephone services - and we accept that publishers have some responsibility for stuff which appears on their forums.

"But it strikes us as unreasonable that exactly the same standards should be applied for content posted on bulletin boards as for articles written by employees or freelancers on the payroll. This makes running a bulletin board difficult and potentially expensive, especially for a company with enough money to make it worth launching a libel action.

"The moderator has an off-day, there's a technical glitch, or maybe the moderator's unpaid and doesn't understand properly the legal pitfalls."

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