Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Publish and be damned!

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Pebble
    Eternal Champion
    • Dec 2006
    • 2550

    Publish and be damned!

    For those outside the UK, I wonder how much as come through about the Super-injunctions story that is now being stirred in the UK's media.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Injunction

    The use of the law to 'gag' reporting of an affair/event or even the reporting has swirled around the news media for some time. The whole episode appears to raised some important points. Who makes the law? Parliament or Judges or in the EU.

    How much privacy can private individuals have.

    And how many people didn't know who this footballer was?
    Papa was a Rolling Stone......
  • David Mosley
    Eternal Administrator
    • Jul 2004
    • 11823

    #2
    Obviously the media (specifically, the Press) have a vested interest in overturning/making untenable injunctions and their more pernicious brother the Super-Injunction, but I also think the 75,000 people who tweeted the name of the footballer at the centre of the Imogen Thomas affair were essentially sticking two fingers up at the courts and saying you can't stop us saying what we want to say. It's a typically British attitude that goes back to the days of the Blitz when it was Hitler and the Nazis whom they were 'flipping the bird' at. (Of course, that assumes the 75,000 Tweeters were British. )

    We now have the ludicrous situation where the injunction is still in force but there's hardly a media outlet, from the BBC to the Daily Scum who hasn't mentioned the footballer's name. Judges are arguably quite right to say the fact that his identity is now public knowledge makes no difference to the validity of the injunction but it does make the law look like the proverbial mule.

    At the heart of this matter though is the question, what's the difference between privacy and secrecy? R*a* G*g*s might have wanted to keep his extra-marital affair with a former Big Brother housemate, serial footballer shagger and 'star' of her own leaked sex tape a secret from his wife/the Public but when Thomas wanted to go public with the affair after it ended did he have a right not to have it splashed all over the red tops? Given that the footballer in question published his own autobiography last year it could be argued that difference between him and an ordinary member of the public (apart from the weekly wage package) is he'd already put his private life into the public domain (for profit) so it's a bit late to be shutting the stable door after that particular horse has bolted.

    A right to privacy I think should really be interpreted as a defence against press intrusion rather than preventing information you don't want revealed from being exposed. We might argue as to the precise definition of 'press intrusion' but I think it's the sort of thing where we can say, 'we know it when we see it'. Sneaking into a hospital ward and taking photos of someone wired up to a life-support unit without their consent is intrusive. 'Hacking' someone's private voicemail/email system is intrusive (as well as illegal). Going through someone's trash is intrusive. Publishing a story that you couldn't keep your wedding tackle inside your pants and have betrayed your spouse with another woman might be embarrassing but isn't ipso facto intrusive imo.

    Speaking of 'intepretation', I loved David Cameron's statement the other day that "the law is the law and the judges must interpret what the law is". Er, if something is something that surely it isn't open to interpretation otherwise it isn't what it purports to be, surely?
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

    Comment

    • Rothgo
      Champion of the Unbalanced
      • Aug 2006
      • 6663

      #3
      An unconnected case made gave me the following outline of an idea a while back: please feel free it kick it to shreads as its not well formed I think!

      The right to privacy should sensibly only apply to those things that are private.

      Marriage: this is not private; its a legal state between two individuals that must be announced publically so objections can be raised and has formal bearing on wealth, taxation, social benefits, familial responsibilites, cultural group dynamics etc.

      Your typical bit-on-the-side is a risk factor in damaging or ending a marriage. A marriage is a public affair (boom boom?). Therefore actions taken that consitute a serious risk to a marriage should not be considered private.

      Discuss if you will...

      Comment

      • David Mosley
        Eternal Administrator
        • Jul 2004
        • 11823

        #4
        Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
        Marriage: this is not private; its a legal state between two individuals that must be announced publically so objections can be raised and has formal bearing on wealth, taxation, social benefits, familial responsibilites, cultural group dynamics etc.

        Your typical bit-on-the-side is a risk factor in damaging or ending a marriage. A marriage is a public affair (boom boom?). Therefore actions taken that consitute a serious risk to a marriage should not be considered private.
        Yes, I'd agree with that analysis. Marriage is a legal contract and, usually, in a marriage service both parties make a promise to "forsake all others as long as you both shall live", so having an extra-marital affair is a clear breach of that contract. By having his (Welsh rare)bit on the side, Mr He-Who-Can't-Be-Named-But-Everyone-Knows-Who-He-Is-Nonetheless-Footballer has committed breach of contract, which is where the Public Interest angle comes into play, because as you say marriage is a public event.

        Conversely, someone who wasn't married but 'merely' co-habiting would arguably be better 'protected' because no legal framework would be in place to define their relationship.

        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

        Comment

        • Morgan Kane
          Lost in the multiverse
          • Jun 2006
          • 1428

          #5
          France has a very more strict approach about private life.

          Private life of public people is their private life and some earn money jsut by prosecutting newspapers who publish photos of them on a sand beach .......

          A public person can have private affairs it is his business ......

          For instance François Mitterrand, president of the french republic had an illegitiamte daughter. Everyone knew that and not a new paper published anything.

          Matter begins when there is an interferance between private life and public life.

          For instance the said president waqs using public funds to raise his daughter and that should have been public news but was not told.

          European court of human rights at Strasbourg is looking for a balance between the right to inform and the respect of private life.

          Article 8 of the european convention protects the right to a private life.

          The edge is very thin.

          Comment

          • Robin
            Citizen of Tanelorn
            • Apr 2011
            • 235

            #6
            Going back to the original question first, it has nothing to do with the EU - Super Injunctions were passed by Parliament, and only for England and Wales.

            Judges are interpreting the law in the light of the European Convention Of Human Rights, but that's because Parliament passed the Human Rights Act in 1998 - still nothing to do with the EU though, and interpreting the law is what judges do.

            Personally, I think it's the penalties that are wrong. If you want the press to stop printing lies about people - as opposed to spreading gossip - punish them by stopping them from publishing for a week or two when they do it.

            "actions taken that consitute a serious risk to a marriage should not be considered private."

            But, should that give the press the right to humiliate the guy's family?

            In these cases, the "victims" of the affair are the wives and families - I don't see how it can be considered to be in the public interest (however interesting some people find it) to know who's shagging who and it's certainly not in their family's interest for their problems to be splashed all over the papers.

            Remember, it's not actually against the law to have an affair - you can't go to jail for it. It's not the same as, say, politicians on the take - and that's, arguably, who these laws are really designed to protect.

            Comment

            • David Mosley
              Eternal Administrator
              • Jul 2004
              • 11823

              #7
              @MK: The French system is, of course, far from perfect and has its own iniquities; to wit:

              [The Dominic Strauss-Kahn case] has become a story about the French elite - that circle of politicians, civil servants, business chiefs, journalists who eat with, sleep with and marry each other. It is an elite - as elsewhere in Europe - that protects itself and presumes to hold power.

              So we now know that within that circle Strauss-Kahn did not just have the reputation as a "chaud lapin" (randy) or "le grand seducteur". There were darker stories of sexual aggression, but they were shrouded in omerta, in silence.

              Despite the rumours, one of the few journalists to refer to them was Jean Quatremer, the Brussels correspondent for Liberation. He wrote on his blog that Mr Strauss-Kahn when it came to women was often "too insistent, he often comes close to harassment". It was a "weakness known by the media, but which nobody mentions. (We are in France.)"

              There were other stories that were known about but covered up.

              In the French view the public interest stops at the bedroom door. It raises the question of when the voter [or the Public? - DM] has a right to know. The atmosphere in which the French elections will be fought will now be very different. There is a tide running strongly in Europe frustrated with those in power and these disclosures will feed into that.

              (Source)
              Just think: had Strauss-Kahn's alleged peccadilloes been aired earlier - and not been protected by his peers - then perhaps a young woman in New York wouldn't have been subjected (allegedly) to a sexual assault.

              Originally posted by Robin View Post
              But, should that give the press the right to humiliate the guy's family?
              If his family has been humiliated* then they've been humiliated by the actions of the footballer himself both in having the affair in the first place and then in attempting to cover the affair up not the media.

              *To be honest, I query just how humiliating it is to find out that your father has been having an affair. It's not, as you said yourself, illegal. It would arguably be more humiliating if he'd been discovered to have images of child sexual abuse on his computer, yet there would be no protection for his family because that would be a criminal offence.
              Last edited by David Mosley; 05-25-2011, 11:27 AM.
              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

              Comment

              • Morgan Kane
                Lost in the multiverse
                • Jun 2006
                • 1428

                #8
                David, i agree that the french system has its drawbacks.

                As i sait the lmimit between the private life which must be protected and the public life is very thin. A behaviour such has DSK has shown disqualifies him as presidential candidate.

                And the political leaders who endorsed him as such are guilty. Voters should have known.

                Would the woman in Sofitel hotel would have escaped her fate, may be ......

                When a man or a woman has a legal affair outside of the bonds of marriage, it is their private business. I don't see why they are public figures, they should get a public coverage. And for the no guilty member of the couple it can be very embarassing.

                Now if this affairs involves public business or is illegal it is another thing.

                Comment

                • Robin
                  Citizen of Tanelorn
                  • Apr 2011
                  • 235

                  #9
                  Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
                  If his family has been humiliated* then they've been humiliated by the actions of the footballer himself both in having the affair in the first place and then in attempting to cover the affair up not the media.

                  *To be honest, I query just how humiliating it is to find out that your father has been having an affair. It's not, as you said yourself, illegal. It would arguably be more humiliating if he'd been discovered to have images of child sexual abuse on his computer, yet there would be no protection for his family because that would be a criminal offence.
                  Fair point. But I keep coming back to the phrase "public interest" that seems to be the key in these cases.

                  And I still think that if someone commits a criminal offence, there is a legitimate public interest in it being made public - otherwise it's merely some juicy gossip.

                  Mind you, when I was discussing this with my son recently I think I took the other side of the argument at first. Then we swapped places after a while.

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X