Posts Tagged ‘News Censor’

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spd cdu logoLeading German MPs have called for online ‘fake news’ campaigns to be made a crime. Patrick Sensburg, a senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, said:

Targeted disinformation to destabilise a state should be a criminal offence. We need to consider whether there should be some sort of ‘test site’ that reveals and identifies propaganda pages.

The call was backed by his party colleague Ansgar Heveling, the chairman of the German parliament’s influential internal affairs committee aying:

We last saw disinformation campaigns during the Cold War, now they have clearly been revived with new media opportunities. The law already offers options, such as a slander or defamation. But I think a criminal sentence is more appropriate when it is a targeted campaign.

German intelligence has warned that Russia is seeking to influence next year’s German elections via propaganda distributed via the internet, partcularly social media. Russia has been accused of deliberately using socialbots , automated software masqueraring as real people, to promote ‘fake news’ stories on social media.

Mrs Merkel’s current coalition partners and main rival in next year’s elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), have also called for a cross-party alliance against ‘fake news’ stories. Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD leader called for

Democratic solidarity against manipulative socialbots and an alliance against ‘fake news’.

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel of the SPD added:

If there is any doubt about the authenticity of any information, we should refrain from attacking our political opponents with it.

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House of Commons logoThe Government’s proposal for a Royal Charter on the future of news censorship has been put on hold after newspaper editors put forward an alternative plan.

The Royal Charter was due to be signed by the Queen when she chaired the next meeting of the Privy Council on May 15, but it has now been taken off the agenda for the meeting so the Government can hold more talks with editors.

Editors are unhappy with an element of statutory underpinning in the Government’s proposal, and last month they published their own proposal for a Royal Charter, which would remove Parliament’s proposed power to make changes to the regulatory system without the agreement of the industry.

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newspapersThe majority of the newspaper industry, made up of five of the country’s largest press groups, have rejected cross-party plans for newspaper censorship and launched a bid to set up their own royal charter-backed body.

News International, the publisher of the Sun and Times, the Telegraph Media Group, the Daily Mail’s publisher Associated Newspapers, Trinity Mirror and Express Newspapers published a draft royal charter saying they rejected the stitch-up put together by the three political parties.

The newspapers said the original government royal charter unveiled on 15 March and endorsed by parliament:

Has no support within the press. A number of its recommendations are unworkable and it gives politicians an unacceptable degree of interference in the regulation of the press.

David Cameron said he was very happy to look at the proposals and his aides said he needed time to examine the gaps between what the parties had agreed and the industry was proposing.

But a spokesman for the culture department stood firm by the original plans endorsed by the Commons and Lords:

We want to see a tough, independent self-regulator implemented swiftly. The royal charter published on 18 March followed 21 weeks of discussion and has cross-party agreement.

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EU flagThe European Union is quietly pouring millions of pounds into initiatives and groups seeking state-backed censorship of the press, including key allies of the reprehensible Hacked Off campaign.

Said to be angered by the British media’s coverage of Brussels, the European Commission says it wants to be a moral compass against supposed press misconduct, seeking new national and Europe-wide censorship powers over journalists.

The EU has spent 2.3 million on the previously unpublicised Mediadem project claiming to reclaim a free and independent media . In a policy brief co-authored by its lead British researcher, Rachael Craufurd Smith, Mediadem says it is simplistic to see state influence [over the press] as inherently stifling .

Mediadem recently produced recommendations for the UK demanding the imposition of sanctions beyond an apology or correction on errant media outlets and the co-ordination of the journalistic profession at the European level .

The recommendations call for the press to be controlled by the same body and on the same basis as broadcasters, who are currently tightly regulated with statutory balance obligations that do not apply to newspapers.

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camercon clegg milibandBloggers will be offered a three-week mini-consultation period, a senior source from the Labour party has told Liberal Conspiracy, to help draft the legislation on web regulation.

The controversial legislation on press and web regulation is likely to be finalised in mid-April. The currently drafted rules exclude various types of publishers including the BBC and other broadcasters, special interest magazines and political parties.

A senior source from the shadow media team said the three political parties were looking for the right definition of a small blog.

This [definition] has to steer a path between exempting blogs that are really small and not providing a legal loophole so that newspapers get exemption on all their online activity or are encouraged to avoid the law by restructuring themselves into a series of small bodies.

We also need to future-proof the law so that as papers gradually move online, we don’t see a slide back into the old world.

The aim of the consultation is to determine how to measure size: whether by company turnover, readership, number of staff or some combination.

Comment: Letter to the Guardian

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Open Rights Group logo Dear Editor,

The Leveson Inquiry was set up to address the culture, practices and ethics of the press, including contacts between the press and politicians and the press and the police . Our views diverge on whether the outcome of the Leveson process — and the plans for a new regulator — are the best way forward. But where we all agree is that current attempts at regulating blogs and other small independent news websites are critically flawed.

The government has defined a relevant publisher for the purposes of press regulation in a way that seeks to draft campaign groups and community-run websites covering neighbourhood planning applications and local council affairs into a regulator designed for the Guardian, Sun and Daily Mail.

Even the smallest of websites will be threatened with the stick of punitive exemplary damages if they fall foul of a broad range of torts, encompassing everything from libel to breach of confidence . The authors of these proposals should reflect on their remarkable achievement of uniting both Tom Watson and Rupert Murdoch in opposition.

This appears to be the outcome of a botched late-night drafting process and complete lack of consultation with bloggers, online journalists and social media users, who may now be caught in regulations which trample on grassroots democratic activity and Britain’s emerging digital economy.

Leveson was meant to be focused on the impact of big media . In the end it may come to be seen as a damaging attack on Britain’s blogosphere, which rather than being a weakness in British politics, has proved time and time again that it is a real strength.

We will all continue to write, campaign, cajole, amuse and irritate online. But we consider the current proposals a fundamental threat to doing just that.

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object logoObject writes:

Half-Hearted Implementation of Leveson Recommendations is Missed Opportunity for Fair and Equal Representation of Women in the Media

Equality Now, Eaves, Object and the End Violence Against Women Coalition welcome the decision by the government to implement at least the majority of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations — particularly in relation to permitting third-party complaints. However, we consider the currently proposed plan of implementation to be a missed opportunity.

Holly Dustin of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said:

The much-compromised plan does not provide any guidance about women’s equality in the new code; it does not propose that any representative of the equality sector might be part of the new body, and it has made no attempt to bring consistency between the broadcast watershed and print media in terms of sexually explicit material.