Sunday, 22 May 2011

Not The Best Example You Could Have Picked, Frankly…

Angus McBride in CiF on privacy laws and the press:
is there really a public interest in the private lives of footballers or entertainers?
I dunno, Angus, why not take a look at the circulation figures for ‘OK’ and ‘Hello’ magazines, before asking a question you clearly don’t know the answer to (something I thought was a bit of a no-no for lawyers)?
In any case, is not the real scandal that ordinary members of the public without access to football-sized wage packets do not have protection against the power of the press? Legal aid should be available to those without the means to hire expensive lawyers.
Well, yes, if your intent is that expensive lawyers should continue to live in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.

Or to which their less-expensive colleagues would very much like to become accustomed…
…the argument continues, not only are privacy laws created by judges out of touch with society, and in the interests of the rich and famous, but the law is in any case unenforceable: in the internet age, privacy is dead. This approach is deeply worrying and essentially accepts that the internet cannot be policed.
Well, that’s because it cannot.
Clearly the internet cannot remain completely unfettered, and indeed it is not. The Twitter publication of people who it is claimed took out superinjunctions was hailed by some as being in the cause of freedom of the press, but it is a contempt of court.
And who has been arrested for it? And charged with it?

Who, Angus?

I’m waiting….

No answer. Oh, well. Guess it remains pretty much fetterless after all.
The fact is, the press has not earned the right to unfettered freedom of expression. I am reminded reading Kate McCann's deeply moving book that on their return from Portugal, having been declared suspects in their daughter's disappearance, Gerry and Kate McCann asked me to visit newspaper editors to explain that there was no truth in any of the allegations made in the more scurrilous parts of the Portuguese press, and that the material was the product of vindictive leaks. I explained to each editor that uncorroborated evidence from a sniffer dog and inconclusive DNA (which could have been attributable to any member of the family) found in the boot of a hire car driven by the McCanns created not even a prima facie case.

It is fair to say that a number of the editors listened carefully and subsequent reporting reflected the fact that they understood that to report the allegations would be immoral, scurrilous and damaging to the efforts to find Madeleine McCann.
Others, however, listened coldly and made it quite clear that commercial pressures trumped completely the rights of these two tragic parents and their daughter.
Mmmm, not that the McCanns have proven themselves immune to the pull of ‘commercial pressures’, eh, Angus?

That book clearly isn’t going to sell itself!


Mark Wadsworth said...

People like that are my moral compass. Whatever they say is by definition wrong, so the chances are that the opposite is correct.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

Oh dear not again. Jools has dared to hint that the McCanns aren't perhaps quite innocent, if only of criminal neglect.

*Waits for the shit storm to hit*

Uncle Badger said...

"The first thing we do - let's kill all the lawyers."

And before some start-arse jumps in to point out that Shakespeare was putting those words into the mouth of a villain, let me point out that he was also playing (quite literally) to the gallery.

It takes a lot to make me believe we are on the verge of a large social or constitutional shift but I do believe we are edging our way to a crisis over the powers arrogated to themselves by the judiaciary - most recently with that pompous ass Neuberger threatening Parlament's right to ignore injunctions imposed by his unelected, unaccountable cronies.

Perhaps when the first clutch of activist judges is duly banged-up, the rest of them might pause for a some long overdue consideration of the concept of democracy and we might be in a position to start sorting out the mess they have created.

Mind you, we may need to hang a few politicians beforehand, too.

How ever did we get into such a sorry state?

English Viking said...

Has Ryan got a gigging order? Can't imogen why.

David Gillies said...

Argh, Viking, you bounder, beat me to it. Quite a "wry" expression "on" my face, That Imogen will be deluged with offers to perform "gigs" in the near future.

JuliaM said...

"People like that are my moral compass. Whatever they say is by definition wrong, so the chances are that the opposite is correct."


"...let me point out that he was also playing (quite literally) to the gallery."

I wonder if it's from Shakespeare that that saying originates?

"Argh, Viking, you bounder, beat me to it."

Heh! Never have I seen the Streisand Effect demonstrated so thoroughly. And it's nice to see Schillings' reputation take (another) battering too.