by John Ward
Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee has promised that the Harmful Communications and Related Offences bill will be in place by the end of the year.
People should take time out to read it. Among other lunacies, the intended legislation can jail people engaging in “internet abuse” for seven years.
Who, we wonder, is going to define “abuse”? The answer is, “Whoever the Minister of the Day is, and how dumb the presiding Judge happens to be”.
McEntee is rushing this Bill through and maximising her own media coverage because sympathy for a teenager hounded to death on the internet made it a cause célèbre. It was about the worst reason I can imagine for doing it, because the Act once in Law will allow any oversensitive pol or celeb to go to Law and get a forceful commentator banged up.
But then, instant popularity and empty virtue signalling will always be more important to legislators than consequences.
As I was writing to a close American friend recently, Hillary Clinton is the gift that keeps on giving….or rather, she would be if people were capable of analysing her hopelessly illiberal rhetoric.
There is simple, and there is simplistic:
It’s official: free speech will be given to everyone except those who doubt Hillary’s veracity: for those who do so are spreading disinformation about important stuff, and therefore shall they be punished.
For instance, we could get some drones and, like, take these bastards out, whaddya think?
I love the way more and more control freaks these days evade use of the term ‘free speech’ in favour of the more woolly ‘democracy’. The unpleasant Guy Verhofstadt, in particular, is fond of referring to the democratic values of an EU where there is no direct democracy at all, and all the strategists are unelected. In fact the terms are completed unrelated – it’s just easier to screw around with “democracy” than say you want to limit free speech.
Coming as she does from a totalitarian training in the DDR, Angela Merkel of course harbours no such inhibitions. In fact, she’s passionate about free speech. That is, limiting it.
She addressed the Bundestag last November in particularly forceful terms….she is, after all, the nation’s Mutti, and thus feels it her duty to tell her children off.
Introducing the distinction, sorry, distraction between “extreme speech” and free speech, Merkel said that freedom of expression must “have its limits,” adding that without opposing extreme speech, “our society will no longer be the free society that it was.”
Three months before her rant, a survey held throughout the Bundesrepublik showed that a staggering 83% of Germans no longer feel able to “speak their minds” in company or in public on many subjects. Unsere geliebte Geli is obviously keen to mop up the remaining 17%.
In fact, under the counter but nevertheless draconian internet censorship in Germany is one of its best-kept secrets. Some years back, I made several attempts to contact AfD (Alternativ fur Deutschland), and each one was batted back with ‘Error 404’, ‘Oops! That page doesn’t exist’ and ultimately by directing me to an Austrian gay dating site. So at least some Winston or other in the Ministry of Truth has a sense of humour.
And so to Blighty, that cradle of saying what you like because the principle is far more important than the offence taken.
Last February, the Government declared itself in favour of giving the quango OfCom tougher powers to deal with violence, cyber-bullying and abuse……yet again, after one tragic case of suicide.
Already, there are several voluble and activist groups in favour of the “crackdown” so beloved of pols determined to demonstrate that their cojones are intacta. So by April, the menu of things to ban had stretched to fake news.
By August it had morphed into The Online Harms Bill, designed to set standards for illegal content and another for ‘potentially harmful content’, a radical step towards regulating the spread of disinformation and abuse on the internet.
I italicise those words there because all censorious law begs the same question – qui iudicat…..who decides?
Twitter and Facebook will have to demonstrate adherence to the new statutory “duty of care” by complying with Codes of Practice in relation to different types of online harms. But they won’t themselves be either investigated or stopped when it comes to the liberal-bias censorship they themselves already practice….as does Google and some malware companies like McAfee.
So I think we can discern the agenda in play here. And as you’d expect, the usual suspects are taking the opportunity for advantage. In Australia, a landmark plan to make digital platforms pay for news content will soon be law. The main lobbyist for this was…..Newscorp Australia. Just fancy that.
But what happens when a blogger or online contrarian site spots something deliberately left out of a story, and then runs a piece about that in which it obviously becomes vital to quote from the original piece?
Zuckerberg’s Facebook has announced that, should the proposal become law, the social media giant will block Australian users from sharing news.
So….a new virus scare agitprop Establishment narrative pops out of the woodwork, and the MSM lackeys run their usual noddy-dog articles. How easy is it going to be to get The Truth out there?
Regular visitors to The Slog will already be aware that the views I express here (about Covid19, for example) are also held by a substantial proportion of the medical ‘frontline’ community and logical thinkers in general.
Blatant interference by Twitter, WordPress, Google and McAfee has made it impossible for me to share the databased information I put out with around 75% of my readers.
There is no sign anywhere across the world of which I’m aware that this palpably illegal (and very widespread) censorship is recognised by any nation State as something that needs to be stopped.
It is obvious – and yet and yet yet again, again – that taxpaying citizens and their dependents come a very poor last after protecting State secrets, bent bureaucrats, thin-skinned politicians, iniquitous Pharma, duplicitous banks, megalomanic billionaires and the broad gamut of media moguls hell-bent on turning the Earth into a corporacratic dystopia.
It’s a fitting note upon which to draw this week devoted to ‘Focus on Freedom’ to an end, because it leads the reader to a conclusion that George Orwell had a point: free speech and journalism is about making Truths available to citizen electors that State Power, privilege, money and ideologues would rather be kept secret.
You can run away from Truth in the censorship debate, but you can’t hide from it as the ultimate protection for us, and the telling accountability of them.
The Truth is under fire everywhere. Take the five subjects covered here this week:
Our Governments are supporting the Pharma lies about Covid19
The British government has lied about its dissemination of information to do with SPA reform and its effect on 1950s born women.
The Johnson Administration is spending ludicrous amounts of money to collect DNA information under the guise of Test & Trace.
The unelected blocist neocon alliance continues to try and pervert Brexit democracy.
Every developed State on the planet is considering or passing laws to turn Belief into Truth and disallow anyone else’s version of Truth.
The State must never become the arbiter of what Truth is. Only objective thinkers or commentators – and genuinely expert analysts – should even attempt an Opinion on the Truth.
Truth based one viewpoint is propaganda. Amen.