Tuesday, May 17, 2011

publish and be damned

Crime will increase as police numbers fall, unemployment rises, drug addiction climbs, courts close, and the government meddles without clear rationale in the criminal justice system to the confusion of lawyers, magistrates, judges and court users. Prison numbers will be forcibly reduced to be replaced by community sentences that are not adequately funded, resourced or managed. Grossly overpaid judges and barristers will waste their time and taxpayers' money interpreting, often erroneously, the semantics of human rights legislation with the outcome of preventing the deportation of foreign national criminals under the guise of protecting their hastily contrived relationships, rather than dealing speedily and justly with the enforcement of criminal law. To make things even worse the wigs and gowns have infected us with an epidemic of super-injunctions.

The ludicrously wealthy perpetrators of whatever titillating but ultimately oh so tedious misdemeanours they are guilty of, run with their cheque books to judges to grant them injunctions that will protect their names from being mentioned by newspapers that will print almost anything to generate greater readership. Their reason is to protect their families, showing a barely noticed touch of irony in that it is their actions that may have harmed their loved ones in the first place.

But the result is self-defeating because, when a scandalous story does then get into the public domain, it will now be assumed to be more plausible in the aftermath of a judge removing or not granting an injunction, deciding that the private life of the celebrity is in the public interest (often confused with being of interest to the public). Meanwhile the online scavengers will have disseminated their judgement of the identity of the guilty party, sometimes getting the name right and sometimes wrong, but they don’t care. Morality and the internet are by and large mutually exclusive. Politeness and integrity don't get a look in.

And so are created the victims of this ridiculous process, who have to fight to repair their reputations that have become damaged by false accusation. They will recover of course; but whilst they have been under the media microscope the attention has been diverted away from real victims.

Victims of crime, victims of poor health, victims of the economic collapse, victims of the incompetence and greed of bankers, and victims of nature’s disasters are ignored whilst the chit chat is all about super-injunctions to protect the super-egos of the super-rich.

So bring down the wall. Let the newspapers publish and let the public become bored senseless with the genre of celebrity relationships, as each story blows hot for a few days and then cold forever, whilst more and more real crimes of real public interest go undetected and unpunished. Let the media suffer the financial losses from the legal action taken by those they have wrongly accused until they get the message that they should be presenting us with news of a much more important and much more frightening kind. Let them all grow up.



At May 17, 2011 10:05 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear Hear!!!

At May 19, 2011 1:38 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We should be able to get a superduper injunction to compel the press and media to draw the nation's attention to those important issues you raised, in particular the ever increasing gap between rich and poor in this country, which is quite clearly encouraged by the policies and actions of our government - and yet crassly hidden away from public attention in the manner that these footballer indiscretions should be.

At May 24, 2011 7:49 am , Anonymous Derek said...

I don't often agree with the author of this blog, however, on this occasion there is broad agreement. My view of the problem is that the main architect of the human rights law, Winston Churchill,  when designing this law didn't have in mind overpaid footballers, actors etc who are unable to keep on their Calvin Klein's. Furthermore, judges who are unable to understand the power of modern technology and who  think California, the home of Twitter, is still part of the colonies. But more of a concern is that some Judges are making up the law up as they go along, injunctions just one of  several instances, and this week threatening free speech in Parliament. Apparently it's only France and England who apply this privacy law to such a degree, America and other european counties apply the publish and be dammed principle, where a jury decides as to whether a complainant has been wronged by the press and compensation is awarded  accordingly. 


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