January 5, 2017

Call to action: defend free speech

Call to action: defend free speech

Press freedom, the lifeblood of democracy, is under attack. Proposed legislative changes put our fundamental right to free speech in jeopardy. The time for action is now, says Rory Broomfield.

The Freedom Association, along with many other groups, is standing up for the freedom of the press against an insidious campaign waged by Hacked Off and the Max Mosley funded regulator, Impress, in order to help save our local press and our tradition of free speech.

On 10 January, a Government consultation on whether to proceed with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and to introduce Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 will end. The Government is asking members of the public – you – to inform the process by giving your opinion (which you can do so at https://freethepress.co.uk/).

The Freedom Association has made itself quite clear why there should be an emphatic ‘no’ to both these measures, as has The Spectator, Spiked Online, The Daily Mirror and many others. The potential introduction of these measures, along with a Royal Charter, has been called “insane” by the editor of The Sun, “repressive” by Rachel Jolley, editor of the Index on Censorship magazine, and the editor-in-chief of the Daily Mirror and Sunday People, Lloyd Embley, has warned that legislation leading to a state-based regulator “would be the end of the free press here.”

These objections are partly based on the increased fear of editorial censorship that would come about by these measures. With their introduction, in-house lawyers would have more power over newspapers editors and these editors may well, in time, be bullied into not reporting stories about individual discretions – even ones that pass the public interest test – on the basis that the publication might be sued by that litigious individual.

Indeed, under these measures celebrities, and others, many of whom want to promote themselves at the same time, would instead of getting a rather expensive (but probably not for them) Super Injunction – that would ensure their alleged actions weren’t reported – would under these measures be able to seek redress at either arbitration or (better yet) a state-funded regulator that you and I pay for (but they may not). They will effectively get the taxpayer – not themselves – to pay for their privacy and the censorship of free speech.

If that wasn’t bad enough (and that’s horrific as it is), it is my contention that a “yes” to the proposed introduction of Section 40, which would force publications who are taken to court to pay for both themselves and their opponents, would lead to the unwinding and possible destruction of the local newspaper industry. It would do so because, frankly, faced with the prospect of being sued and bearing the brunt of substantial legal costs, owners of regional and local news will just stop investing and sell up.

Max Mosley, who funds the press regulator Impress through his charity, has claimed that only five news corporations that own most of the national press also own most of the local press. This is true. A study done by the Media Reform Coalition found that, indeed, five companies control some 70% of regional daily newspaper circulation.

However, what that report, and others, haven’t said is that these companies have – as a result of their investment – saved regional newspapers from going under. Indeed, without the support of companies like BSkyB etc, there might not be any regional newspapers at all.

What Mosley also doesn’t like to admit is that there is almost no way that the Directors of The Guardian Media Group – or any other owner – would be micromanaging these local or regional newspapers. Just think: the editor-in-chief of the Guardian phoning up every day the editor of Macclesfield Express or the Rochdale Observer to tell them what to write. Ludicrous! It doesn’t happen.

What Hacked Off and Max Mosley don’t want you to know is that the likelihood of regional newspapers ever flourishing with this legislation is small. It would pose too much of a risk for investors to be responsible for publications that could ensure a set of hefty legal bills in time. I am not, for one instance though, suggesting lower editorial standards at these regional newspapers. I am, however, suggesting that they will not have the necessary resources to hire the legal advice needed to cope with this legislation.

Ultimately, it’s up to you: please inform the consultation by going to freethepress.co.uk where you will find a response to the consultation that you can send off to Karen Bradley, the Culture Secretary. You can amend it, add your own thoughts, and use it as a template. The choice is yours – but please take part in the consultation and help save our local / regional newspapers and our free speech.

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 16 votes
Rory Broomfield
Rory Broomfield is Director of The Freedom Association and the Better Off Out campaign. He is an authority on the EU and has written a number of books including his latest, co-authored with Iain Murray, Cutting the Gordian Knot: A Roadmap for British Exit from the European Union. He has previously worked in the City of London and in Westminster for a number of Members of Parliament, including the current Prime Minister, Theresa May; the current Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady; and Sir Richard Shepherd.
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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