Anorak News | Free The Press: reject Section 40 and keep stamping your feet

Free The Press: reject Section 40 and keep stamping your feet

by | 19th, December 2016

The assault on Press freedoms continues. If Section 40 is passed anyone who values free thought and free expression is damaged.  On 1 November, the government launched a consultation on “the Leveson Inquiry and its Implementation” which will look into Section 40. It closes on 10 January.

Section 40 demands newspapers sign up to a State-approved body. Failure to sign up to the State’s Press regulator means publications will have to pay the costs of anyone who brings a civil suit, libel or privacy actions against them – even if they win their case.

It’s blackmail.

Join Impress, the Max Mosley-funded press regulator backed by the censorious Hacked Off, or the State will cut your legs off. Write anything unpleasant against the rich and powerful, and watch your organ die.

In today’s Sun, Trevor Kavanagh writes in support of a free Press. He comments on Mosley, the “tycoon”:

If he succeeds, newspapers will be gagged by a draconian law which puts paid to three centuries of press freedom. If enacted, Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act gives anyone with a grievance the power to take a newspaper to court, with all costs paid by the publisher — win or lose.

Is Mosley an altruist? No, says Kavanagh. He is out to exact a “sick revenge”.

Mosley loathes the press for revealing his German- themed sado-masochistic sex romps with prostitutes. He is on a witch-hunt which puts every newspaper in the land — local and national — in peril.

Who else stand to win if Section 40 is approved?

Every corrupt character in the land, public or private, would be able to take the press to the cleaners. The only alternative would be to surrender to a state- supervised “watchdog” funded — surprise, surprise — by Mosley.

Kavanagh is on the board of IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation).

Nearly every newspaper and magazine in the country signed up to Ipso which swiftly established a reputation as a prompt, free and impartial referee. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley must wake up to the threat Mosley’s press regulator poses – if the press are made to pay court cases even in thrown out cases, suing will be a free-for-all This is not enough for Mosley. He funded Impress which, as the only applicant, was appointed as the industry’s statutory regulator — without the support of a single major news organisation.

Over in the Mirror, Jeremy Armstrong has a disturbing tale.

A police force last night faced stinging criticism for unlawfully snooping on the Daily Mirror after we revealed its Chief Constable blew taxpayers’ cash to conduct an affair with a colleague.

Bosses used powers designed to track terrorists and dangerous criminals to access my phone records as well as those of other ­journalists, officers and a solicitor in a bid to find who was leaking ­information about alleged racism within its ranks.

Worried? You should be. You can read it all here.

Kevin Maguire tells Mirror readers they are living in “Stasi Britain, where cops spy on journalists investigating credible allegations of police corruption”.

Like Kavanagh – who says “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” – Maguire notes, “The disinfectant of daylight keeps the authorities honest.”

Society of Editors director Bob Satchwell makes an appeal:

“Everyone, not just journalists and publishers, must respond to the consultation and write to their MPs to persuade politicians and the Government to step back from a draconian measure that would take us back to the dark ages of press censorship, stifle freedom of expression and the public’s right to know what is done in their name and with their money.

“It is a battle which goes back to the 1600s, a century in which a king lost his head for ignoring the interests of the people.

“Those who seek to neuter the press and whistleblowers, must not be allowed to win this fight for fundamental freedoms that are important for everyone but which are too easily taken for granted.”

It’s a big deal. And you can say ‘no’ by signing the petition here.

People fought and died for the right to cause offence. Don’t let them take it away.

One man, for instance, named Lilburne [John Lilburn; 1614 – 29 August 1657], was brought before the Star Chamber, charged with publishing seditious pamphlets. Now, in all ordinary courts of justice, no man is called upon to say any thing against himself. Unless his crime can be proved by the testimony of others, it can not be proved at all. But in the Star Chamber, whoever was brought to trial had to take an oath at first that he would answer all questions asked, even if they tended to criminate himself.

When they proposed this oath to Lilburne, he refused to take it. They decided that this was contempt of court, and sentenced him to be whipped, put in the pillory, and imprisoned. While they were whipping him, he spent the time in making a speech to the spectators against the tyranny of bishops, referring to Laud, whom he considered as the author of these proceedings. He continued to do the same while in the pillory. As he passed along, too, he distributed copies of the pamphlets which he was prosecuted for writing.

The Star Chamber, hearing that he was haranguing the mob, ordered him to be gagged. This did not subdue him. He began to stamp with his foot and gesticulate; thus continuing to express his indomitable spirit of hostility to the tyranny which he opposed. – Charles I, by Jacob Abbott (1848)

Sign the petition.

Posted: 19th, December 2016 | In: Reviews, Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink