Blogger Jailed, Fined For Critical Restaurant Review
Watch out, Yelpers.
A blogger in Taiwan was dragged into court, initially sentenced to 30 days in prison and ultimately fined about $6,900 (US) for posting a critical restaurant review on her personal blog. The woman, identified by her last name only, complained of cockroach infestation, parking chaos and salty food, and the owner of the restaurant was displeased- and accused her of defamation:
After visiting a Taichung beef noodle restaurant in July 2008, where she had dried noodles and side dishes, Liu wrote that the restaurant served food that was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the owner was a “bully” because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams.
The restaurant’s owner, surnamed Yang (楊), learned about Liu’s blog post from a regular customer, and filed charges against her, accusing her of defamation.
The Taichung District Court originally concluded that Liu’s review “exceeded reasonable bounds,” and handed down the 30 day sentence. Liu appealed, and was ordered to pay restitution of NT$200,000 for revenues lost due to her blog post. The court opined that characterizing the restaurant’s food as “salty” was unreasonable as Liu only sampled one dish, and a subsequent health inspection determined that conditions in the restaurant were not as unsanitary as the writer described.