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]

Samizdata quote of the day

Any statutory regulations/provisions against the press in the UK will most gleefully be lapped up here for use against the local media. The one argument we have had; that the modern liberal democracies around the world have self-regulation rather than statutory laws for the media will fall down should the UK opt to embrace statutory legislation as well to police the press. Such moves will only strengthen the hand of oppressive, regressive governments around the English-speaking world.

Sinha Ratnatunga, Editor, Sunday Times, Sri Lanka

6 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Perry Metzger

    Most of the US constitution has been a failure, but I’m very glad for the First Amendment. In much of the world, it would not be believed that a country could thrive even with nearly absolute freedom of speech without the example provided. There is something to be said for enshrining certain freedoms past the ability of politicians to easily destroy.

  • Regional

    When the people have nothing to lose the politicians should become very afraid.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    So in the course of a week, we have a situation in which, a, a family is broken up due to the political beliefs of the parents (UKIP) and that we face statutory regulation of the media, in peacetime, for the first time since the late 17th Century. (I say peacetime since of course the media was regulated tightly by the use of D-Notices and the like during WW1 and WW2).

    This is not encouraging.

  • Paul Marks

    As far as I know, only the United States has real Constitutional protection for freedom of speech (by “real” I mean a constitutional text not followed by “subject to law” or other text making the protection of freedom speech meaningless).

    Just as (again as far as I know) only the United States has real (again with no following “gutting” text) Consitutional protection for the right to keep arms (I doubt that even Switzerland has this protection – in its new Constitution, someone will check).

    I weep that the United States is dying.

    For dying she is.

  • The British phone hacking scandal has been used as a tremendous stick with which to bash Rupert Murdoch’s Australian media interests, particularly by the Green Party (who are extraordinarily intolerant of any kind of criticism from anyone, and who receive quite a lot of criticism from Murdoch’s Australian newspapers). Lots of proposals for licensing newspapers and journalists etc have been suggested by them, and as the present Labor government requires the Green Party’s votes, it would have political reasons to support the Greens in such things even if it did not personally wish to do this. (To be fair, people in the Labor party are more mixed about it than the Greens are. There are at least a few sincere civil libertarians on the Australian left). If Britain were to enact draconian laws like this, this would certainly provide support and encouragement for similar laws in other rich liberal democracies such as Australia, let alone in poorer and less liberal countries.

    The irony about the phone hacking scandal is that there is not the slightest suggestion that any of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian papers (or indeed anyone else in the media) hacked phones or behaved remotely like this in Australia. The phone hacking scandal was about the culture of Fleet Street much more than it was about the culture of News Corp. However, it is being used as an excuse by people who want to silence the press far beyond the UK.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Michael – the censorship effort against Andrew Bolt shows the attitude of the Australian left (i.e. the local chapter of the international left) on freedom of speech.

    As for “hacking”.

    It is already illegal.

    And why is the BBC (and so on) so upset when News International people do it – and not upset when Mirror Group (and GUARDIAN newspaper people) break the law?