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 Updated: Sunless Offices...

Flintshire councillors propose motion calling for a ban of the Sun and its journalists from council offices


Link Here 28th September 2017  full story: Councils Censor The Sun...UK councils call for local newsagents to ban The Sun
flintshire council logoCouncillors are set to vote on a proposal to ban the The Sun newspaper and its journalists from Flintshire County Council offices.

The motion has been put forward by Deputy Leader Cllr Bernie Attridge and Cllr Kevin Hughes. It also seeks to ban Sun journalists from reporting on council meetings. The motion is said to reflect continued strong feelings about the Sun's reporting of the Hillsborough tragedy.

However the council  move has been met with criticism from the Welsh Conservatives. Shadow Local Government Secretary, Janet Finch-Saunders said it was was an attempt at censorship of the media. She said:

This is a childish and typically spiteful move from a Labour Party which no longer cares for the fundamental principle of free speech, and which no longer backs a free press.

Whilst we might not like certain newspapers -- and might question the impartiality of other platforms -- we have a right not to consume their output. But we shouldn't have a right to ban them. This is how dictatorships start, and Jeremy Corbyn should know a thing or two about them.

The legality of the motion is being considered ahead of a scheduled council discussion on September 27.

Update: Support shops banning the Sun

28th September 2017 See  article from bbc.com

Flintshire council has voted to support newspaper sellers who refuse to sell The Sun. The motion was carried by 36 councillors to six, with 18 abstentions, at a meeting on Wednesday.

The motion, put forward by councillors Bernie Attridge and Kevin Hughes, asked the council to support the Total Eclipse of the Sun boycott campaign in solidarity with councils in England.

The initial motion had tried to ban The Sun from council buildings and stop any of the newspaper's journalists attending council meetings, but these aspects have since been removed.

 

 Offsite Article: How should the mainstream media tell the news?...


Link Here 28th September 2017
Today programme By Nick Robinson of the BBC's Today programme. An interesting article but note how the BBC thinks its news is 'unbiased' when it so actively suppresses aspects which are inconveniently politically incorrect

See article from bbc.com

 

 Update: Virtually banned...

China jails seller of VPNs


Link Here 5th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flagA man who sold VPN software via a website has been sentenced to nine months in prison by China's Supreme People's Court. The decision otes that the software supplied by the man allowed the public to circumvent China's Great Firewall while granting access to foreign websites.

Back in January, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that it would take measures to strengthen network information security management and would embark on a nationwide Internet network access services clean-up.

One of the initial targets was reported as censorship-busting VPNs, which allow citizens to evade the so-called Great Firewall of China. Operating such a service without a corresponding telecommunications business license would constitute an offense, the government said.

Then early July, a further report suggested that the government would go a step further by ordering ISPs to block VPNs altogether.  Apple then banned VPN software and services from its app store.

With an effort clearly underway to target VPNs, news today from China suggests that the government is indeed determined to tackle the anti-censorship threat presented by such tools. According to local media, Chinese man Deng Mouwei who ran a small website through which he sold VPN software, has been sentenced to prison. He set up a website to sell VPNs. Just two products were on offer but this was enough to spring authorities into action.

 

  Gagged by anti-lobbying rules...

Letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children and Greenpeace warns their voices are being silenced due to draconian legislation


Link Here 30th August 2017
greenpeace logoAn open letter signed by 122 organisations including Save the Children, Greenpeace and Christian Aid says campaigning is being lost from public debate due to the draconian requirements of the Lobbying Act.  The letter reases

To Ms Tracey Crouch MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society, Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Dear Minister,

Enhancing civil society participation in the democratic process

Congratulations upon your appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society. We are writing to you, as organisations for whom campaigning is fundamental to achieving our mission, to express our concerns regarding the Transparency of Lobbying, Non - Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, also known as the Lobbying Act, and its impact on the ability of civil society to participate in the democratic process.

Civil society is a vital part of a healthy democracy. It has a long and proud tradition of campaigning in the UK, and has been the driving force behind many of our great social reforms, from the abolition of slavery to the extension of the franchise to women. In more recent times, charities and non - partisan campaign groups have worked with parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to achieve equal marriage and tackle modern slavery.

While we recognise that regulation is necessary to ensure that no one individual or organisation c an exert undue influence at an election, the Lobbying Act has had a disproportionate impact on civil society campaigning. We are concerned that it caused many organisations not to engage in the run up to the recent general election, and resulted in some important voices being lost from public debate.

Charities and non - partisan campaign groups have spent significant time attempting to understand the legislation and how to comply. However, many of the rules are vague and confusing, especially for smaller organisations. While some organisations have sought legal advice to help them interpret the legislation, this can be expensive and is simply not an option for many. The rules on joint campaigning are also a concern for smaller charities, and have made organisations more hesitant to collaborate.

A Government-commissioned review of the Part II of the Lobbying Act, conducted by the Conservative peer, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, found that it fails to get the balance right and proposed several changes to the legislation. The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities described his recommendations as “eminently sensible” and called on the Government to implement them “in full”.

We are writing to you as the Minister responsible for civil society, to ask you to work with your colleagues in the Cabinet Office to ensure sufficient parliamentary time is devoted to allow revisions to be made, which would protect and enhance the ability of civil society to engage in the democratic process.

The Lobbying Act is a confusing and burdensome piece of legislation that weakens our democracy, rather than strengthens it. We look forward to working with you in your new role to ensure that much-needed changes are made to this law.

 

  Fox News censored in the UK...

Presumably a victim of News International having to kowtow to the authorities to get a merger approval


Link Here 30th August 2017
fox news logoRupert Murdoch has taken the rightwing US channel Fox News off the air in the UK after 15 years.

The decision came as Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is set to return her verdict on whether to ask the competition regulator to launch an investigation into the Murdochs' adherence to broadcasting standards in the UK as part of an inquiry into Fox's £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky.

[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK, a spokeswoman for the company said. Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.

The spokesperson said that Fox News only reached about 2,000 average daily viewers in the UK, however figures from the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that the number was closer to 60,000.

Fox News has become increasingly troublesome for the Murdochs as they attempt to buy Sky. The channel is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that led to a string of high-profile figures leaving, including the chairman Roger Ailes , who has since died, and leading presenter Bill O'Reilly .

 

 Commented: Heavy handed...

The authorities seems to have been spooked by the Charlottesville troubles and have decided to ratchet up penalties for internet insults on social media


Link Here 26th August 2017
Crown Prosecution ServiceThe Director of public prosecutions has announced plans for more prosecutions and harsher punishments for online insult. Prosecutors will be ordered to treat online hate crime as seriously as offences carried out face to face.

Alison Saunders said the Crown Prosecution Service will seek stiffer penalties for abuse on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. Saunders says the crackdown is needed because online abuse can lead to the sort of extremist hate seen in Charlottesville in the United States last weekend, which left one person dead.

Writing in the Guardian, Saunders said:

Left unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days. That is why countering it is a priority for the CPS.

The new policy documents cover different strands of hate crime: racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic. They also say that victims of biphobic hate crime, aimed at bisexual people, have different needs and experiences compared to those suffering anti-gay and transphobic offences.

Offsite Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

23rd August 2017 See  article from thesun.co.uk

sun newspaper logoFree speech lawyer Myles Jackman, of the Open Rights Group, said:

It's incredibly clumsy guidance and a strict interpretation is chilling.

Robust discourse in a civilised society is essential and means people sometimes disagreeing in very strong terms.

Social media is a minefield and people can be wholly unpleasant in a friendly way.

Offsite Video: A clamp down on free speech

23rd August 2017 See  video from youtube.com

Hate Crime' Crackdown by TheBritisher

 

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: We don't need the state to police hate

26th August 2017 See  article from spiked-online.com by Naomi Firshtstaff

Let's trust citizens, not officials, to challenge prejudice online.

 

 Offsite Article: Thou shalt not criticise...


Link Here 18th August 2017  full story: Preachers in the UK...Preachers come under censorship duress
Metropiltan Police badge Victory for street preacher arrested for criticising Islam

See article from christianconcern.com

 

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