It’s mildly unbelievable, but apparently it’s true.
The new regulation will cover “websites containing news-related material” apparently. That means not only ones such as this, but the one run by your local parish council too. And the one written by just about anyone with a blog.
We now live in a world in which millions of people publish things each day. Yet the system of regulation being proposed seems a throwback to a time when only a few newspaper editors wrote “news-related material”. What is your twitter feed, if not a stream of “news-related material”?
I grew up in a central African country run by various dictators who controlled the newspapers. Perhaps that is why I find the idea of state regulation of the press in Britain so shocking.
A big part of me thinks that this is a disaster in the making. A small part of me hopes these proposals go through so we can see the utter balls up that follows.
The measure is being called “regulation”. Unfortunately it seems unlikely to be anything but censorship.
I do not see how it can avoid meaning that a committee of establishment types will censor the media to prevent the expression of any opinions that they object to. Furthermore the honest reporting of any news that they do not wish reported honestly will be prevented. This may surprise; but I remember how the mention that criminals were black, or Romanian, or whatever — and very frequently the culprits were immigrants — was banned, on the grounds that it was “inflammatory”. So we must expect this same approach to become endemic. Members of favoured groups who commit crimes will not be associated with that group; members of unfavoured groups, such as Catholics, will be used to smear the group in question. Indeed this happens quite a lot already. But now the websites that do report the facts will be shut down.
The “independent regulator” will be run by the same sorts of people who run the “independent” BBC. The establishment already decide who runs the latter; who else will they choose for the former? Yet the BBC news on teletext is already so grossly censored (courtesy of political correctness rather than threat of legal punishment) that some of the news items on it make very little sense as read.
We do need to name the guilty. The pressure for this evil has come from the political left. I would imagine that their motivation is to control the UK printed media (which, being purchased by the public, is mostly of the right). The addition about blogs only came to notice in the last few days.
It does, of course, affect this blog too. While I post as little as I can on political issues, I have felt obliged to post on free speech. This act will affect what I can say.
Milton, thou should’st be living at this hour…