We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]


This article is from nearly a week ago, but it is of interest still, I think:

Newspaper owners responsible for publishing racist or xenophobic articles in Britain are to be protected from being sent for trials abroad under government plans to soften the impact of the new Extradition Bill.

Ministers will introduce amendments today to tough European-wide laws that allow courts to extradite EU citizens accused of committing one of 32 generic criminal offences.

Concerns raised by the media that they could fall foul of the new law when it comes into force in January have prompted the Government to act to remove the threat of prosecution.

The Bill makes “xenophobia and racism” one of 32 crimes for which a British citizen can be sent for trial in another EU country – such as Germany or Austria, where it is illegal – although there is no such standalone offence in this country.

But because British newspapers are sold abroad and their articles are published on the internet, editors and their proprietors could face prosecution for racist offences committed in this country.

I can’t say I understand the full ramification of this, but my brain is abuzz with questions.

For instance. Will these amendments apply only to newspaper proprietors, or will, for example, the proprietors of group blogs be exempt also, in similar circumstances? If one of us junior contributors here did a White Rose posting that the government of Austria deemed to be xenophobic or racist, would Gabriel and Perry, the named organisers of White Rose, then still be in the firing line? Or do these amendments apply to them as well?

Looking at the larger picture here, the stink of this piece is that “Europe” is a place where what seems to matter is not what you have done but who you are.

What’s so special about these newspaper proprietors, other than that they have the power to affect the fortunes of major politicians? Are they like the drivers of fire engines needing to exceed the regular speed limits? I suppose they would argue that, metaphorically speaking, this is indeed what they are, sort of. They are our protectors, and therefore they themselves need special protection.

But one fears, on the contrary, that maybe these big media newspapers may ease off on their concern-raising about the other 31 of those 32 generic criminal offences – and about, you know, things in general – just so long as they themselves are not directly threatened by the new arrangements. One fears, in other words, that in exchange for their own protection, they’ll relax about protecting the rest of us.

Still, at least the Indy gave these other 31 criminal offences a passing mention. Can anyone say, or point to a place which does say, what they all are?

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