Press bloviation

October 2021 Forums General discussion Press bloviation

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  • #81805
    Young Master Smeet
    Participant

    The politicians are all arguing over whether the Royal Charter for the press regulator recogniser is or isn't backed up by statute.  What they are all quiet about is that a very real law will be in place to instruct courts to issue exemplary damages to any "news-related" publisher who is sued for libel and who does not subscribe to the recognised regulator.

    In short, this is a system of press licensing, backed up by statute and shaped by executive fiat (as if it's better to have a Royal Charter than to have an Act of Parliament).

    The whisper is that the big guns of the press are carefully reading the Human Rights Act (Fnar!) to see if this violates article 10:

    Human Rights Act wrote:
    Freedom of expression

    1:Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

    2:The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

    To be frank, although no-one loves the press, the real issue around Leveson was not what the press actually said: it was the way they gathered information in the first place, any attempt at regulation is just a fantasy fulfilment of the powerful.

    #92512
    steve colborn
    Participant

    The talk about, "infringement of the freedom of the press", is a total misnomer. If the press, and the likes of Cameron, Clegg, Miliband et al actually think this rubbish, they are guilty of spreading dangerous falsehoods, dangerous that is, to the vast majority of us who make up the working-class. What, in reality, is being discussed with much rubbing of hands and gnashing of teeth, is the rights of a very, very few wealthy individuals who own these mouthpieces of class expression and opinion, who use these "rags", to support an odious and inhumane system of society, which as it's biproduct leaves billions in extreme poverty and want and actually kills 10's of millions of our fellow human beings in various ways, every single year, Capitalism.Newspaper ownership is a very exclusive club indeed. It costs millions if not tens of millions for membership, the members including some of the most bigotted and odious people, with the same kind of views, imaginable. If we are lucky, the nearest we get to freedom of the press, or indeed, of speech, is a letter in the local paper.Like so much else in Capitalism, ones freedom of speech and expression, is directly correlated to ones bank balance. Cannot pay, cannot have. Go figure. So shed no tears for the likes of Murdoch! Steve. 

    #92513
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    steve colborn wrote:
    Newspaper ownership is a very exclusive club indeed. It costs millions if not tens of millions for membership, the members including some of the most bigotted and odious people, with the same kind of views, imaginable. If we are lucky, the nearest we get to freedom of the press, or indeed, of speech, is a letter in the local paper.Like so much else in Capitalism, ones freedom of speech and expression, is directly correlated to ones bank balance. Cannot pay, cannot have. Go figure. So shed no tears for the likes of Murdoch!Steve. 

      Workers do not have the material means for freedom of the press to exist. "Freedon of the press" is doublespeak for "Murdoc's(and his ilk) freedom of the press". The press have acted despicably but what's new? They always have.   "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas. (p. 64)"

    #92514
    ALB
    Keymaster

    I agree with Steve on this one. I've got no sympathy for them at all. The press barons and their hired editors called for regulation and restrictions on the trade unions in the 70s and 80s and are now getting a bit of their own medicine. They are not interested in the freedom of the press as such. What they are interested in is their freedom to publish whatever they consider will sell more of their paper and so bring in more profits for their owners. What other sections of the capitalist class do to them is not our concern.

    #92515
    Young Master Smeet
    Participant

    My concern was for ourselves: we paid about £4 when we were sued for libel in the early 1900's, now it would be a minimum of several tens of thousands, plus about half a million in costs, before they decide that exemplary damages are due becuase we wouldn't have paid the licence fee.Unfortunately, a rule big enough to take the big boys on would crush us under foot…

    #92516
    ALB
    Keymaster
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    Unfortunately, a rule big enough to take the big boys on would crush us under foot…

    But would we, i.e the Socialist Standard, have to register? If we have the choice I don't think we should but you could be right: we might have to tone down some of the things we say in the Greasy Pole column.Mind you, the Weekly Worker recently got done for libel under the existing rules. They settled for £1000 damages plus both sides' legal costs (which they estimate could be as high as £10,000):http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/948/an-unreserved-apology-to-unite-regional-officer-wayne-kinghttp://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/950/appeal-from-the-editorWe should be ok as long as we don't libel anyone.

    #92517
    Young Master Smeet
    Participant

    That would have been twice the damages, say, if they had been exemplary because they were unregulated: plus, maybe a change in culture could come about because the new arrangements may encourage people to turn to the courts, especially against small opponents.  It would all depend on how exemplary the damages are, and how much it'd cost for a licence…

    #92518
    stevead1966
    Participant
    #92519
    HollyHead
    Participant

     From the SOYMB  Blogspot:

    Quote:
    As Marxists we should not support any statutory regulation on the freedom of the press in bourgeois capitalist society."

     Ah! But would we actively oppose? And if so how?

    #92520
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Here's the views of Francis Wheen on this, mentioning Marx's 1842 article on "freedom of the press" when he was not yet a socialist but still a radical bourgeois democrat and editor of one of their papers.http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/if-the-us-constitution-and-karl-marx-can-agree-on-a-free-press-why-cant-we-8545432.htmlHe doesn't mention Marx's remark in the same article which has been variously translated into English as:

    Quote:
    The primary freedom of the press lies in not being a trade.

    and

    Quote:
    The first condition of the freedom of the press is that it is not a business activity.

    By this criterion the self-proclaimed "free press" in this country is not a free press at all but a profit-seeking business opposing restrictions on its particular profit-seeking activities just like any other business would.

    #92521
    stevead1966
    Participant

    The bourgeois tenet of freedom of the press is really under threat. Extra clauses to the Crime and Courts Bill are intended to bully  “relevant publications” into signing up for the new regulator. Any that remain outside,  Private Eye, or The Spectator could be stung for “exemplary damages” if they are sued. Will the 'Socialist Standard' be at risk ? Francis Wheen makes a pertinent point: "MPs say that they have no wish to gag the press, but few of them care all that passionately about it. Some, indeed, regard themselves as fellow “victims”, along with the Dowlers, because their expenses fiddles were exposed"  Courts will have to define  “news-related material” and “relevant publications”.  There is criminal law already in existence which is being used to prosecute newspapers for their 'sins' regarding the Dowlers.Britain is signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights – Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life – 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This can be used for newspapers when it oversteps the mark in the instance of the Dowlers.There is bourgeois freedom of the press in France and they have a strict privacy law, based on a single sentence in Article 9 of the Civil Code: "Everyone has the right to privacy", which dates back to 1970.  This right, which became part of the constitution in 1995, includes not only the disclosure of a person's private life but also the unauthorised taking of photographs and their publication. This restriction on the freedom of the press Britain is adopting would be unheard of in the home of bourgeois liberty – the USA where the First Amendment to the US Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting… prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” is sacrosanct. The Fathers of bourgeois liberty such as John Milton, Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill must be turning in their graves.We live in increasingly dangerous times regarding authoritarianism, creeping political state power and the diminution of the freedom to dissent from the bourgeois consensus. The freedom of speech and independence of the 'Socialist Standard' in bourgeois capitalist society is 'protected'  by the notion of freedom of the press established by the non-renewal of the Licensing Act in 1695, and the abolition of stamp duty tax on newspapers in 1855.http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/freedom-of-press-marx-milton-and-leveson.html

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