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27th June  Update: Scottish Injustice Laid Bare...

Naked Rambler at John O'Groats
Trumped up charges against the Naked Rambler

Here is the relevant law

2003 Sexual Offences Act - Section 66 : Exposure

(1) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he intentionally exposes his genitals, and
(b) he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

Surely he did not intend distress so is simply not guilty of the law intended to cover this eventuality. So some mean minded people seemingly trumped up breach of the peace charges

From the Daily Record

The Naked Rambler was behind bars again yesterday - as his cost to the taxpayer rose to more than £60,000.

Steven Gough was ordered back to prison after being arrested last month leaving Edinburgh's Saughton jail in the nude - for the seventh time.

So far he has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and run up a bill of about £40,000.

Court costs are estimated to take the figure over £60,000.

Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken said: All this nonsense means is that he is back in court and back in prison and is costing the taxpayer a damn fortune.

He was forced to remain in the cells at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday after refusing to put on clothes as he denied a breach of the peace.

Giving evidence, two officers said they repeatedly asked Gough to put on clothes and warned him that if he did not do so he would be arrested. He refused.

They said the car park was near a busy main road and there was a primary school in the area.

John Good, defending, said: "The simple act of being unclothed did not cause members of the public fear and alarm."

But Sheriff Nigel Morrison, QC, found Gough guilty and ordered him to serve 14 days outstanding from his previous sentence and 60 days for the most recent offence.


20th June   Game Sensitivity...

Law & Order: Double or Nothing gameSmall Bulger image leads to call for ban of video game

From The Guardian see full article

A computer game which uses the CCTV image of James Bulger being led away to his death from a Merseyside shopping centre has been withdrawn from sale in the UK after being condemned by his mother as "sick and hurtful".

The image of the two-year old, which was seared into the public appears as a grainy visual clue in the game Law and Order: Double or Nothing.

Denise Fergus, James's mother, called for all copies of the game, which is based on the US television drama Law and Order, to be scrapped. She also complained to its manufacturer, Global Software, demanding that the image be removed and appealed for anyone who owns the game to destroy it: It dehumanises the memory of my lovely son I want it stopped immediately. What on earth were they thinking when they did this beggars belief.

24th June  Update: Nothing Much...

Law & Order: Double or Nothing gameJamie Bulger
picture simply not recognised in the US

From see full article

Legacy Interactive has apologised to the family of James Bulger for featuring an image of the murdered toddler in PC title Law and Order: Double or Nothing.

In a statement the company said, Legacy Interactive sends our most heartfelt apology to the family of James Bulger for the inadvertent use of a background photo in our Law and Order game.

The image was included in the game years ago and without any knowledge of the crime, which occurred in the UK and was minimally publicised in the United States.

The image of Bulger, a still of CCTV footage recorded in The Strand shopping centre, Merseyside, is visible on a bulletin board in the game.

The company has now confirmed that a patch has been created to eliminate the photo from the game, and it's now available for download from Legacy also said that the photo will be removed from any future printings of the game.


11th June   Up in Smoke...

Tom & Jerry with 18 certScottish government call for 18 rated smoking

From The Scotsman see full article

Scotland's new SNP government is plotting to deter film-makers showing smoking on-screen. They are backing calls for all films with excessive smoking to be given an 18 certificate, so younger teenagers and children are barred from seeing anyone light up.

Ministers have no power to change the regulations, but have pledged to raise the issue at Westminster.

The change was proposed last week by SNP backbencher Kenneth Gibson and has now received support from Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison who said: The Scottish Executive recognises that images of smokers featured in films, TV and magazines may influence young people to smoke. In developing our longer term national smoking prevention strategy, therefore, we will work with the UK government and other devolved governments to explore ways to reduce negative and increase positive images of smoking in the media. It does not seem unreasonable for issues relating to film classification to form part of these considerations.

Currently, guidelines for the BBFC state that any glamourisation of smoking "may be a concern". Smoking is logged by BBFC examiners but so far it is not believed that smoking levels have affected film classification.

However, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) recently declared that it will take into account depictions that glamourise smoking or movies that feature pervasive smoking outside of a historic or other mitigating context. That means old films will not be affected, but new movies with smoking may come with a warning.


1st June   Cock-Eyed Censorship...

RSPB logoof the word 'cock'

From The Telegraph

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has banned the use of the word "cock" when applied to the male of the species, in case it causes offence.

An RSPB spokesman confirmed that it did not use the word 'cock' on its website

In a move condemned for "taking political correctness too far", a correspondent on an RSPB online forum was surprised to find that his use of the word "cock", when referring to a male blackbird, was replaced with four asterisks.

He challenged the forum moderator over the sensitivity to the word, only to find that once again the asterisks appeared. He wrote: When is it not in order to refer to a male bird as a **** and a female as a hen? I've heard of PC but that is taking things too far.

The moderator replied: "It is not political correctness. The issue is words that can be used in an offensive context and we should not forget that the RSPB website has a massive viewing from children. Pretty much all internet forums use the same or similar filters. It is far from an ideal situation but it is better to be safe than sorry.


16th May   Gunning for the Game Designer...

Hooded gunmanof online game set in Northern Ireland troubles

From the BBC see full article
See the online game at HoodedGunman

A web-based computer game inspired by the activities of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups has 'outraged' victims organisations.

The Hooded Gunman, a virtual game where players register as republicans or loyalists. The aim of the game is to collect as much money as possible by creating a paramilitary empire built on drug dealing, prostitution, counterfeiting and killing your enemies. Players also have to avoid police officers who can offer them bonuses for becoming informers.

The game's introduction states: We created this game to make people laugh and have fun and hopefully unite in our differences in our online community, after all, in Northern Ireland we have such beautiful cultural diversities.

However, Alan McBride who lost his wife and father-in-law in an IRA bomb in 1993 is furious: It does attempt to glorify it (violence) in some senses and it is absolutely appalling.

Ulster Unionist Derek Hussey said it was tasteless and insensitive: There is nothing glamorous or playful about paramilitarism in Northern Ireland. At a time when many victims are coming to terms with the new dispensation and politicians are trying to draw a line under the past, this type of nonsense does not help.

But the game's creator, Warren Dowey, said the intention was to bring about awareness of the plight of people in Northern Ireland, but never to cause offence: I don't want to take away from the fact that many people lost their lives to violence but I just wanted to highlight what I felt was the ridiculousness of it. The game does not glorify the paramilitaries by any sense, in fact it portrays them as drug dealers, and peddlers of alcohol and prostitution. There are no civilians within the game.


11th April  Update: Naked Rambler Cleared...

Naked Rambler at John O'GroatsNudity did not cause distress

Here is the relevant law

2003 Sexual Offences Act - Section 66 : Exposure

(1) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he intentionally exposes his genitals, and
(b) he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

So as the Sheriff says, no distress then no crime. Given that it is so clear, then perhaps it is the prosecutors that should be put in the dock.

From the Daily Mail

"Naked rambler" Stephen Gough has been cleared of causing a breach of the peace by refusing to cover up in a public car park.

Despite being convicted eight times, Sheriff Isobel Poole ruled that his latest case was not proven.

The ex-marine, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, admitted refusing to dress before being released into Saughton Prison car park in Edinburgh.

He successfully argued that his naked state had not distressed others.

Isobel Poole ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that his state of undress had caused alarm to members of the public, therefore causing a breach of the peace. She told Edinburgh Sheriff Court Sheriff court that in this case there was no evidence of "actual alarm or disturbance": I can understand this conduct could be considered unpleasant to passers-by had there been any but there is a lack of evidence to that effect.

Fiscal Depute Naeema Sajid had argued unsuccessfully that because the Saughton car park was visited by a variety of people, including children, an offence had been committed.

12th May  Update: A Breach of Justice...

Naked Rambler at John O'GroatsNaked Rambler jailed

Here is the relevant law

2003 Sexual Offences Act - Section 66 : Exposure

(1) A person commits an offence if-
(a) he intentionally exposes his genitals, and
(b) he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

Surely he did not intend distress so is simply not guilty of the law intended to cover this eventuality. So some mean minded people seemingly trumped up breach of the peace charges

From The Scotsman see full article

The Naked Rambler has been jailed for three months after marching nude through the Grassmarket past shocked tourists and children.

Stephen Gough was found guilty of causing a breach of the peace for the ninth time during a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

Gough claimed that staff failed to provide him with clothes as he left court naked on April 10 after being unexpectedly freed by a sheriff during an earlier case.

The 47-year-old ran from a back door of the court building only 50 metres away to the Grassmarket where he was re-arrested within minutes.

Giving evidence naked yesterday, he said: I was enjoying the sun and didn't see anyone alarmed. There were some girls giggling and some people were trying to get photos with their mobile cameras because it was something unusual.

But Sheriff Peter Grant-Hutchison said: This court allowed you to appear and give evidence in this matter in respect of your human rights, but unfortunately you don't seem to respect the rights of others and in particular the public in the Grassmarket on that day.


10th May   Ore Inspiring Injustice...

BBC logoBBC investigation raises concerns about Operation Ore

From the BBC see full article Hear the programme

A BBC investigation has raised concerns about the way the UK's biggest internet child porn inquiry was conducted.

Operation Ore focused on over 7,000 people whose credit cards were used to buy illegal porn from a US website.

Lawyers and computer experts have told BBC Radio 4's The Investigation that many of those arrested may have been innocent victims of credit card fraud.

Lawyers and computer experts said some forces did not carry out proper checks to see if suspects arrested as part of the investigation were fraud victims.

So far, 2,300 people on the list have been found guilty of offences.

But another 2,000 people spent many months under investigation before charges were dropped.

Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, told The Investigation he believed many of those investigated had been innocent victims of fraud: The police just didn't look for and didn't understand the evidence of wholesale card fraud. And as a result, hundreds of people, possibly in the low thousands of people, have been put through a terrible mill with threats of prosecution for child pornography.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and former head of the national crime squad, has been involved with Operation Ore since it was first set up.

He defended the record of the operation and told the programme that more than 90% of the individuals tracked by police had pleaded guilty: That's people who - the allegation has been levelled against them, the evidence has been collected and they, at court or through accepting an adult caution, which 600-plus of them did, have said I am guilty of this offence.

[But of course he did not mention that the decision to accept a caution may have been under the duress of preferring a caution to the option of being prosecuted in court with the possibility of publicity and a prison sentence]


6th May   Getting a Private Life...

Sign: Love your neighbour...unless he enjoys sex
Teaching about holier than thou

Generating a hardcore website is surely a totally legal business activity

Based on an article from the People see full article

By day Andrew Miles gives computer technology lessons to 11-18-year-olds at a school which is proud of its Christian ethos. But by night the teacher is using his IT skills to build up a hardcore website on the internet.

But now Miles is under suspension after The People newspaper told his superiors about his night time activities.

Associate principal Joe Burns said: We are staggered. This is the first time we have heard of this. It is obviously an extremely serious matter and it will be dealt with in that way.

When The People confronted Miles at home he said: The website is not a full-time job. Teaching is my full-time job and that's all I'm going to say. I'm not exploiting women, they are all paid models. He refused to answer any more questions.

A spokesman for the National Union of Teachers said: This kind of thing would be considered completely unprofessional and he could face disciplinary charges by the school.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Peterborough which covers Northants said: The school was unaware of the alleged activity until alerted by the media. The teacher has been immediately suspended pending further enquiries.


2nd May   Blaming YouTube...

David LepperDavid Lepper sets his sights on censoring YouTube

From the The Argus see full article by Brighton MP, David Lepper

Following a story in The Argus about disturbing images celebrating gang violence in Churchill Square and other parts of the city appearing on the internet, I am asking both the Home Office and the communications regulator Ofcom to look at whether we need to do more to control what appears on websites like YouTube.

Every so often, some event makes many ask what we can do to minimise the internet's potential for harm. The violent death of Brighton teacher Jane Longhurst was one. It raised concerns about access to and the effects on behaviour of violent internet pornography.

I congratulate The Argus on the vital role it played in backing the campaign by Jane's mother Liz to get Government action to curb this extreme pornography. The campaign was later backed by Amnesty International and has led to legislation soon to come before Parliament about possession of such images.

As one of the MPs with Mrs Longhurst at many of her meetings with ministers and civil servants, I discovered just how difficult it is to control what is on the internet, especially when - unlike with the issue of child pornography - there is no international consensus about what is or is not acceptable. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to track down where material originates.

It is a different kind of violence - highlighted last month by The Argus - which has once again raised this issue. In this case there is no real doubt about the origin. The pictures, apparently taken from CCTV cameras and from mobile phones, glorified real-life violence. They showed a gang fight and violent attack in Brighton's Churchill Square, harassment and violence at Moulsecoomb railway station and an incident on a bus. The images had been edited with a music track and posted on YouTube.

Everyone who has seen this footage and the stills from it has been shocked, not only by the mindless and inexcusable thuggery but that it has been made publicly available in a way which seems to celebrate extreme aggression.

There is no doubt the intention of those who did this was to boast about their involvement and Sussex Police are investigating how the CCTV footage got on to the internet.

Of course, the very great virtue of YouTube is that it provides a space where anyone can post their films and thoughts and ideas. But YouTube has a code of practice which should exclude material like the Brighton pictures. The fact it did not exclude them until a fuss was made raises questions about how the code of practice is monitored.

That is why I am asking the Home Office and the communications watchdog Ofcom to consider whether stricter regulation is needed, not just for YouTube but also for other sites like it.

I don't know the answers to those questions. It could be that selfregulation by the industry is enough and that YouTube was just sloppy in letting these images through. I welcome the fact that the courts have dealt with at least some of those involved in the violent incidents.

The question I believe we now need to consider is if the courts also need the power - if they don't already have it - to deal with those who posted or sanctioned the posting of the material on YouTube.

If they don't have that power already, then maybe the law needs changing.


29th April   Goat Goads God Nutters...

God of War 2 gameContributing to the hype for God of War II

Based on an article from the Daily Mail

Electronics giant Sony has sparked a row over animal cruelty and the ethics of the computer industry by using a freshly slaughtered goat to promote a video game.

The corpse of the decapitated animal was the centrepiece of a party to celebrate the launch of the God Of War II game for the company’s PlayStation 2 console.

Images of the party have appeared in the company’s official PlayStation magazine – but after being contacted by The Mail on Sunday, Sony issued an apology for the gruesome stunt and promised to recall the entire print run.

At the event, guests competed to see who could eat the most offal – procured elsewhere and intended to resemble the goat’s intestines – from its stomach. They also threw knives at targets and pulled live snakes from a pit with their bare hands.

Topless girls added to the louche atmosphere by dipping grapes into guests’ mouths, while a male model portraying Kratos, the game’s warrior hero, handed out garlands.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare said it was "outrageous" that the animal’s death had been used "to sell a few computer games". A spokesman said: We are always opposed to any senseless killing of an animal and this sounds like a gruesome death. We condemn Sony’s actions. It is stupid and completely unjustified.

The party features across two pages of the latest edition of the company’s PlayStation magazine, which was due to hit newsstands on Tuesday but has already been sent to subscribers.

The article, based on a Sony Press release, shows more vivid pictures from the event under headlines such as Topless Girls! and Flesh Eating? It asks readers how far they would go to get hold of Sony’s next-generation console, the PlayStation 3.

How about eating still warm intestines uncoiled from the carcass of a freshly slaughtered goat? At the party to celebrate God Of War II’s European release, members of the Press were invited to do just that . . .

In God Of War II players follow Kratos into battle against a series of fearsome characters from Greek mythology. Sony describes it as an adult-rated, fast-paced bloodbath – and enormous fun to boot. Bigger, better and as brutal as ever.

Former Minister Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East and a long-time campaigner against violent computer games, branded the stunt "distasteful and irresponsible: The slaughter of animals is not something that should be done to advertise a product. Sony as a global entertainment company has a social responsibility. At this event it failed in that responsibility. I think people should think very carefully before bringing games like this into their homes. I would understand if customers wanted to boycott other Sony products such as their televisions because of this controversy."

The company, which released the game in the UK on Friday, admitted that the stunt had been a mistake. In a statement it said: Sony does not condone or sanction any inappropriate behaviour by its staff or sub-contracted staff. It has come to our attention that at the God Of War II launch showcase, an element of the event was of an unsuitable nature. We are conducting an internal inquiry into aspects of the event in order to learn from the occurrence and put into place measures to ensure that this does not happen again.

The Sony spokesman said the animal had not been slaughtered for the event but had been bought from a local butcher by the Greek company hired to stage the event.


25th April   Heated Debate...

The Great Global Warning ScandalCall for DVD ban on challenge to greenhouse theory

When did scientific fact become a reason for censorship? Perhaps these people should call for the banning of all religious works too on the grounds of misleading nonsense.

From The Guardian see full article

Dozens of climate scientists are trying to block the 7th May DVD release of a controversial Channel 4 programme that claimed global warming is nothing to do with human greenhouse gas emissions.

Sir John Houghton, former head of the Met Office, and Bob May, former president of the Royal Society, are among 37 experts who have called for the DVD to be heavily edited or removed from sale. The film, the Great Global Warming Swindle, was first shown on March 8, and was criticised by scientists as distorted and misleading.

In an open letter to Martin Durkin, head of Wag TV, the independent production company that made the film, the scientists say: We believe that the misrepresentation of facts and views, both of which occur in your programme, are so serious that repeat broadcasts of the programme, without amendment, are not in the public interest ... In fact, so serious and fundamental are the misrepresentations that the distribution of the DVD of the programme without their removal amounts to nothing more than an exercise in misleading the public.

The programme featured scientists known as climate sceptics. It argued that mainstream researchers ignore evidence that counters the consensus that most recent warming is down to human activity. It said there were problems with the computer models that predict future climate change and that solar activity, not greenhouse gas emissions, is to blame for recent warming. Wag TV called the programme a "definitive response to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth". Scientists complained that the programme makers distorted evidence, and made elementary mistakes such as claiming that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than human activities, when in fact they produce less than 2% of that caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Ofcom said it had received 246 complaints, and was investigating. The letter was coordinated by Bob Ward, a former press officer with the Royal Society. He said: This isn't about censorship, it's a question of quality control. We have no objection to the DVD being distributed if all the errors are corrected, but if they correct all the errors then the whole premise of the program will fall to pieces.


21st April   Skittish Airways...

Richard Branson in Casino Royale
BA ridiculed over censorship of Richard Branson cameo

From The Telegraph see full article

Richard Branson, the Virgin Atlantic chairman, who makes a brief cameo appearance in Casino Royale, the latest James Bond film, is somehow missing from the version shown on British Airways flights.

In the cinema version, Sir Richard is seen passing through a security arch at Miami airport. However on BA flights, while he can be seen from the back, the scene when he turns round and faces the camera has gone.

This is not the first occasion that BA has been sensitive about the appearance of its rival on screen. Scenes filmed in Virgin's premium cabin were cut out of The Wedding Date before it was deemed suitable for BA passengers.

The decision to cut Sir Richard from the film was taken by BA's in-flight entertainment team, which vets films on grounds of taste and suitability before allowing them to be shown.

The fractious relationship between the airlines dates back to their legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1990s. After an apparent thaw, hostilities appeared to resume last summer when Virgin was identified as the "whistle blower" that triggered a price-fixing investigation in Britain and the United States.

A BA spokesman confirmed that changes had been made to Casino Royale. All films are screened .... we want to ensure they contain no material that might upset our customers.


20th April   Awe Inspiring Injustice...

PC Pro MagazineOperation Ore flawed by fraud

From The Guardian see full article
From an article to be published in PC Pro

The high-profile crackdown on internet child porn has claimed lives and destroyed reputations. But fresh evidence says the police got it wrong, says Duncan Campbell

Operation Ore has become embedded in public consciousness as the landmark police operation that tracked down people - almost always men - who allegedly paid to access child pornography via computer. In all, 7,272 British residents were on its target lists, more than 2,000 of whom have never been investigated; and 39 men have killed themselves under the pressure of the investigations. Ore has dragged big names into the spotlight - such as the musicians Pete Townshend, the Who guitarist, and Robert del Naja of Massive Attack, both falsely accused of accessing child pornography.

New evidence I have gathered for my work as an expert witness in defence cases shows that thousands of cases under Operation Ore have been built on the shakiest of foundations - the use of credit card details to sign up for pornography websites. In many cases, the card details were stolen; the sites contained nothing or legal material only; and the people who allegedly signed up to visit the sites never went there.

From The Register see full article

In the UK, hundreds of men who say they were falsely accused on the basis of the evidence from Landslide have begun collecting names in the hope of launching a class action style lawsuit against the police.

The site these men use to communicate with one another, Inquisition21, has been delisted by Google, but the search giant has never explained why.

Many of those accused (at least 39, although some say the real figure my be much higher) have taken their own lives.

The implication of Campbell's new evidence is clear: thousands of people may have been falsely accused of the one of the most horrible crimes imaginable. Some may have even died as a result.


19th April   Ken Blames Kill Bill...

Ken Livingstone talking trashfor making Britain violent

From Metro
Image from

Ken Livingstone launched a vitriolic tirade against violent TV, films, gangsta rap and Margaret Thatcher, blaming them all for making Britain violent.

The London mayor claimed hit TV series 24 'seems to justify torture', and also laid into Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.  Livingstone said the film simply glorifies violence rather than showing people that use their brain power to achieve their goal.

The Thatcher years helped create a generation of people whose children did not have a moral code, he claimed.

He also said some rap music was behind the current spate of violence and society's moral breakdown.


18th April   Internet Watch...

IWF logoIWF publish their annual report

From IWF see Annual Report 2006 [pdf]

The IWF  have a remit to minimise the availability of potentially illegal internet content, specifically:

  • child abuse images hosted anywhere in the world
  • criminally obscene content hosted in the UK
  • incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK

However the report rightfully concentrates on action against child abuse images and there is little if anything mentioned about actions against adult obscene content.

The IWF have added a note about avoiding the term 'child pornography'. They say: Please note that the terms ‘child pornography’ or ‘child porn’ can act to legitimise images which are not pornography. Rather, they are permanent records of children being sexually abused and as such should be referred to as child abuse images.


18th April   Privacy Trumps Freedom...

Travels with Loreena McKennittCourt judgement challenges freedom of expression

Based on an article from The Guardian see full article

The courtroom struggles of two Canadian women - one an international folk star, the other her former close friend - have far-reaching implications for press freedom

Loreena McKennitt is a Canadian folk star and Niema Ash is a travel writer who became a close friend of McKennitt until the friendship turned sour.

In order to try to come to terms with the collapse of their relationship - "a cathartic exercise" - Ash decided to write a biography which she entitled Travels With Loreena McKennitt: My Life as a Friend. To ensure control, Ash also arranged to publish it herself.

Published in June 2005, the book is essentially about the nature of celebrity, though it clearly dwells on intimate personal matters too. McKennitt has given many interviews herself but had previously stopped the publication of another book about her songs, citing her right to privacy. So Ash cannot have been too surprised when she launched a legal action to ban the book. She later reduced that to a demand that 38 separate sections be deleted, some of them as small as five lines.

But it was the cause of action that was so surprising. She did not sue for libel, which is fairly normal in such circumstances, but claimed the book breached her privacy.

An affronted Ash refused to accede to the demand and, having previously armed herself with insurance, decided to fight the case. Once the insurers' money ran out, its lawyers were forced to retire, and Ash represented herself in the high court. It is impossible to know whether Mr Justice Eady's decision would have been different if Ash had had the benefit of an experienced barrister, but his ruling certainly astonished the legal community.

In finding for McKennitt, and insisting that eight of the 38 instances should be expunged, the judge tipped the balance away from freedom of expression for the media, and towards the the legitimate expectation of citizens to have their private lives protected.

He drew heavily on the controversial European court of human rights victory by Princess Caroline of Monaco over pictures of her taken in public. Eady decided that information does not forfeit its "private" quality simply because it concerns events that could have been witnessed in a public place or because third parties are involved. In other words, authors cannot assert they have a right to freedom of expression if, in telling their own life stories, they reveal information about someone else's.

Now, following the refusal of the House of Lords to hear a further appeal, it is possible to get to grips with the issues. There is a possibility of a petition to the European Court of Human Rights, but that has not deterred Ash from deciding to talk openly about the case for the first time.

Ash has now published a new version of the book, deleting the offending material but adding a chapter which deals with the trial. It was held in private and I think that was grossly unfair, she says. As for the judgment itself, let me just say that I believe it was seriously flawed.

But it's hard to see, from the available evidence, that Ash was anything other than decent and fair and truthful. It isn't a kiss-and-tell book, she says. It's about friendship and fame. It's my story, and I should be allowed to tell it.


3rd April   Whatev-ah...

Catherine Tate Show posterTeachers feel that TV is fuelling disrespect

From The Telegraph see full article

The catchphrases of a television comedy character are being blamed for a rise in aggression and bad manners among youngsters.

Lauren, the obnoxious teenager portrayed by the comedian Catherine Tate, is fuelling a culture of "disrespect" in classrooms, according to a survey.

Children are increasingly repeating the character's lines "Am I bovvered?" and "Whatev-ah!" when staff try to discipline them. Some pupils may even be re-enacting violence they have seen in TV dramas.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), which published the survey, also disclosed that growing numbers of teachers are quitting because of concerns over assaults in the classroom.

A lack of parental supervision meant too many pupils were staying up late and watching "inappropriate" television beyond the 9pm watershed, the union's annual conference in Bournemouth was told yesterday.

However, teachers said that not all television had a negative influence. The association said television encouraged increased awareness of current affairs, with 53% of teachers overhearing pupils talking about healthy eating habits, 40% about global warming and 29% about the war in Iraq.


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