Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Blogging Post-Leveson

It looks like the proposed Royal Charter – which in itself is probably the least bad of the "have to do something" options that became an unavoidable route to take in a coalition government situation – will include bloggers, as this highlighted extract from the Crime and Courts Bill shows...

I found the above at Cranmer's site, where he has gone into this matter to a fair degree. I suspect it's an unintended consequence as far as the Conservatives within government are concerned, but no doubt deliberately included by officials in this way, in furtherance of a different agenda (which is so easy for the Mandarins with a coalition government).

The 'in the course of a business' wording might exclude bloggers, but this will need definitive legal clarification. Otherwise a number of us are going to have to move the hosting of our 'blogs to an overseas server. I don't think we'll also need to physically leave the country, fortunately!

This really is a terrible way for our nation to go; though I can see that there wasn't a great deal of choice on this in practice, and it will have to do as a stopgap measure until wiser heads prevail and the whole thing can be dropped from statute, probably just a few years hence if we get a majority Conservative Government in 2015.

There are one or two other unknowns as well: if we stop writing about current affairs in England and/or Wales, does earlier material have to be taken down or can it stay on the new-direction 'blog? It can't go completely, of course, as it's all archived automatically at various locations around the world. Therefore there isn't any sense in practical terms in enforcing removal of earlier material if one doesn't join this scheme and thus agree to be bound by it.

That last bit is the key, of course; and already Guido has started a petition, which I have signed, to tell those who wish to censor on-line comment in general just where they can go...

For myself, this 'blog has a much wider remit than just current affairs, so I shall not need to cease blogging; and there are other ways to get material published and 'intell' fed out to others abroad where they can use it in much the same way as I do myself at present. Those whose 'blogs are entirely (say) politics-focused will not have that fall-back position, should it turn out to be a no-no to continue on their present path.

Anyway; we shall have to see what comes of the eventual Charter and its legal interpretation on the above points and (no doubt) numerous others. I shall, naturally enough, be monitoring all of that as it unfolds in the weeks and months to come...

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