Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is not everyone’s cup of tea, but now and again, he makes a pronouncement that would be difficult not to welcome: Abuse of state powers as councils threaten bloggers with arrest. Local Government Secretary, Eric … Continue reading
Thought Readers might like to read Guido’s views on the regulation chaos:
“AFTER Parliament voted to regulate the Press on Monday, curious journalists asked Downing Street how this new Royal Charter would affect the internet. Who would be regulated?
Only news websites will be regulated, they were told by the Prime Minister’s spokesman.
What, they asked, about the Guido Fawkes political blog?
“No” came the answer, that would not be regulated.
Down the road elsewhere in Whitehall Maria Miller, the minister responsible for the media, was briefing that my Guido Fawkes blog would fall foul of the new regulations because it reports news and gossip.
Do these bumbling buffoons really know what they are doing?
It doesn’t seem like the Government have thought through the regulation.
Maria Miller was asked in Parliament if Hello! magazine would be regulated — the out-of-touch minister admitted she had not even heard of the top-selling celebrity photo-magazine.
That this is all a bit of a shambles is hardly surprising.
After all, the deal to end 318 years of Press freedom was cobbled together at 2am by David Cameron’s fixer Oliver Letwin in Ed Miliband’s office with Hugh Grant’s motley crew of anti-Press campaigners on hand with takeaway pizzas helping out with the drafting.
It was rushed through Parliament the next day with some 500 MPs happily supporting a chance to get revenge on the papers for exposing and bringing to an end their expenses fiddling.
The truth is the world wide web is not going to be regulated by our out-of-touch politicians. My business is run out of Ireland and the blog is hosted on a web server in California.
Which means that unless the Royal Navy plan to send a warship to enforce the Royal Charter by pointing its guns at the web servers off Long Beach, there is no chance of this scheme working.
Max Mosley, the shameless Formula 1 tycoon who has campaigned against the Press and for privacy laws that would have stopped his orgy with hookers from being exposed, told a Select Committee of MPs yesterday they could “cut the wires” to the internet for foreign-hosted websites like mine.
That is what the Chinese, Saudi and Iranian regimes do. Is that really the route Britain should go down? Keeping the voters in the dark about the private lives of politicians — with privacy regulations for example — does not make voters better able to judge the merits of the people who want to rule over us.
Voters need to know if, for example, a politician has a drink problem.
Politicians have always been wary of a free Press watching and reporting on their murky doings.
They have, over the centuries, tried to keep journalists out of Parliament, ban them altogether, licence them, jail some occasionally and now regulate them.
I write about politicians every day and do not think it is at all healthy to be regulated by a statute passed by the very same people who are often criticised harshly on my blog.
That is why we won’t, as a matter of principle, submit to these proposed regulations whatever the penalty risks.
The editors of two weekly news magazines, Private Eye and The Spectator, have both said they won’t be going along with the charter either.
Readers want a robust free Press that makes amends when it makes mistakes.
Trust does have to be rebuilt after the phone hacking scandals of the past.
Newspapers have a big decision to make. If they go along with this scheme they need to design a system that gives redress to those deserving it yet doesn’t open the gates to a deluge of complaints from politically motivated campaigners.
Or they could just say “no”, publish and be damned.“
Guido Fawkes, pinched from the Sun (sorry).
This, from C4, gives a pretty fair summing up of the issues involved in the #daftarrest libel trial which concluded last week:
Blogger’s legal fight shines light on council transparency
She was arrested for filming a council meeting – the situation escalated and now she’s in a high court libel trial. But citizen journalist Jacqui Thompson says she will still fight for transparency.
It’s a David and Goliath case which lays bare the challenges – and, some would say, the importance – of citizen journalism.
LLandwrda resident Jacqui Thompson is a blogger who writes about her local authority, Carmarthenshire County Council. She says she just wants to raise awareness of what’s happening in local government – but she has been locked in a legal struggle with the council authorities over her work for much of the last 18 months.
Back in 2011, Mrs Thompson was ejected from a council meeting and arrested when she refused to stop filming for a report on her blog. She says there is nothing in the council rules which indicates that she cannot film – but the council disagreed. Read on…….