Breaking news for lawyers – the internet has arrived!
Guardian: The Attorney General had a surprise at the official launch of Guardian Law
The decision by The Times to drop off the face of the legal net (Yes, I am sure a few are paying to read it online) by disappearing behind a paywall must have assisted Guardian Law in their new endeavour. I like the format and I like the style. The content is developing and a couple of my friends have been contributing – Carl Gardner who writes the Head of Legal blog and BabyBarista.
Guardian Law is definitely one for student, lawyer, academic and member of the public to follow. Afua Hirsch seems to have a wise head and keen eye and brain on young shoulders, if I may say so – good stuff. She does the Guardian Law Afua Hirsch blog as well!
Metgate grinds on…..
Phone hacking: MPs ‘were too scared to testify in court’ says MP
Guardian: Simon Hughes, who gave evidence against a NoW journalist after his phone was hacked said others were afraid to join him.
Astonishing really… but Tom Watson MP was certainly happy to get up on his feet, albeit using the protection of Parliamentary privilege, to talk of red topped assassins yesterday in a good speech. Whether anything will actually come of this remains to be seen – but if the *evidence* points that way, we will know for sure. The key is to get the evidence – so the campaign has been worthwhile in shaking the tree. Forgive me if I continue to take the well worn path of assuming innocence until guilt is proven – a very different matter from innocence or my own personal thoughts on the matter.
Commons declares war on ‘media barons and their red-topped assassins’
Independent: New parliamentary inquiry will have the power to force senior newspaper executives to give evidence
“Referring to News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks, Mr Watson told the Commons: “The truth is that we all of us in this House in our own way are scared of the Rebekah Brooks of this world.
“If you fear passing this resolution, think of this; it’s almost laughable. Here we sit in parliament, the central institution of our sacred democracy, between us, some of the most powerful people in the land, and we are scared of the powers she wields without a jot of responsibility or accountability.
“They, the barons of the media, with their red-topped assassins, are the biggest beasts in the modern jungle.
“They have no predators. They are untouchable. They laugh at the law. They sneer at parliament. They have the power to hurt us, and they do, with gusto and precision, with joy and criminality.
“Prime Ministers [cower] before them. And that is how they like it. That, indeed, has become how they insist upon it.
“And we are powerless in the face of them. And we are afraid. And if we oppose this resolution, it is our shame.
“That is the tawdry secret that dare not speak its name…..”
Kay Burley accused of being ‘a bit dim’ by Labour MP Chris Bryant
Guardian: Sky News presenter has on-air spat with MP during interview about News of the World phone-hacking story.
Burley was interviewing Labour MP Chris Bryant about the Commons debate on the News of the World phone-hacking story. When Burley challenged Bryant to provide evidence for his claim that phone hacking and other illegal techniques were “endemic” in the newspaper industry in the past, he cited a report by the Information Commissioner that identified more than 1,000 cases.
Burley said: “So you are in a position to have listened to the debate and read the report and as a result you are content to say that on telly.”
Bryant replied: “I have just said that. You seem to be a bit dim, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
I quite enjoyed this. I rarely watch Sky – not out of some bizarre anti-Murdoch protest – but simply, try as I might, I can’t actually find a single thing, news or otherwise, that I actually want to watch apart from Cricket and I decline to pay to watch when BBC commentary does the job just fine. Good to see a politician not putting up with nonsense from TV people – some of whom appear to think they are more important than the people they are interviewing.
For Tony Blair and free speech
Lawyer and Jack of Kent blogger, David Allen Green writes a short article in The New Statesman asking “Are we censoring a retired politician?” Blair has cancelled a number of events recently – to what appears to be the delight of some Libertarians and others who might, otherwise, be expected to be the first to storm the barricades from the comfort of their Parker Knoll chairs and complain about erosion of their free speech. Tom Harris MP tweeted the other day expressing the hope that Blair would not cancel events due to ‘thuggery’. Blair cancelled the events – explaining, not unreasonably, that he did not want to put additional burdens on Police and the like. It may also be that he recognises that sentiment is not with him on the Iraq war and does not wish to fan the flames further. It may be that book sales are going so well that he doesn’t need to. Kerching! – for the British Legion…so that is just fine by me. I am enjoying his book.
David Allen Green makes a rather good point when he says this… “The defence of free expression is often most important when the beneficiary is unpopular.” On this issue, emotions run high and the rights of those who wish to express dissent our outrage at Blair, in a peaceful way, have as much right to do so as Blair does to promote his views. Both are now denied such an opportunity face to face. The comments in The New Statesman article are revealing – and some, understandable. The principle of freedom of speech is a good one. The reality may not always be quite so ‘convenient’. We should promote the former and guard against development of the latter.
I agree with Green – freedom of speech is all. Unfortunately, unlike America, we don’t have a First Amendment – so if any Pastors over here developed a taste for Koran burning – they would simply be banned and, possibly, locked up. That is the British way with dissent and ‘difficult’ issues. Freedom of speech? You’re having a larf…… doesn’t exist in Britain – there are pragmatic and, sometimes, politically convenient limits. Superinjunctions, libel laws, privacy laws and good old fashioned funk at what a journalist can find lurking in a cupboard to dissuade MPs (and others), according to the news story above, ensure that freedom of speech is very much controlled by those with the money and influence to do so.
Some EVIDENCE some may prefer not to see or even look at?
from Guido Fawkes….
While the Mirror and the Guardian try desperately to breathe air into the phone hacking scandal, lets take a look at why it isn’t really about evil Murdoch and his newspapers. A little evidence based research, with the help of the Information Commissioner’s Office, shows how all the papers were up to dirty tricks and “blagging” – pretending to be someone you are not in order to gain the information you are not entitled to. Who do you think had the most recorded offences?…..
Go on… it will do you good 🙂