Saturday, 27 December 2008

A terminological inexactitude

Andy Burnham, UK Culture Secretary, is quoted in the Daily Telegraph, 27 December 2008, as saying the following:

“If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldn’t reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now. It’s true across the board in terms of content, harmful content, and copyright. Libel is [also] an emerging issue.

“There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical. This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.”

When will politicians learn either the value of freedom, or the value of accurate speech? Burnham is happy to trample on the former. He cannot manage the latter. His ideas very clearly do amount to a campaign against some free speech of which he disapproves. And free speech counts for nothing unless it is extended to things of which one disapproves. I might respect him if he said "Yes I want some censorship, for the following reasons". But if he said that, he would be forced to recognise the uncomfortable need to justify his proposals properly.

For those who care about freedom, and want to know where it is under attack, I recommend www.melonfarmers.co.uk

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