Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Guardian gagged from reporting UK parliament; bye-bye press freedoms?

The Guardian has been prevented from reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds which appear to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

 — The Guardian, "Guardian gagged from reporting parliament", 2009-10-13

I was going to do some work this morning, but urgent news has interfered. Today, the Guardian reports that they have been banned from reporting on a question asked in Parliament. This contravenes the Bill of Rights and basic human rights of freedom of the press and free speech, and is particularly ludicrous given that the question is on public record, and can be found on parliament's website.

Despite the fact that I perfectly well know the reasons behind the ban and what they're trying to hide, I cannot put them here on this page - the legal situation appears to be unpleasant and hairy in the extreme, thanks again to UK libel law. However, I very much encourage you to read the article, and to conduct your own research from thereon. I'm sure you'll be able to find what you're looking for with some digging...

Interestingly, BBC News is completely silent on the topic. Hopefully that's because they're scared of legal action, not because they don't care about civil liberties. Anyway, I would very much appreciate it if you could give them a nudge by sending them a message asking them to cover the Guardian gag.

Furthermore, please write to your MPs and ask them to bring up this issue in parliament.

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