Drink censors from the Portman Group have ludicrously whinged at Spar for describing a range of wines as
'everyday drinking'. The phrase was used as marketing speak for commonplace and cheap. It was not used for any customer facing promotional material. The press release included the paragraph:
Matt Fowkes , SPAR UK Wine Trading Manager added: Our new 'Everyday Drinking' range at £5 and 'Varietals' range at £6 are a result of an extensive review of our SPAR Brand wine values. We are targeting customers who buy wine by their preferred
style and key grape varieties. We've made selecting wine easier and more accessible for them.
The Portman Group published the following adjudication:
A complaint about two SPAR press releases promoting a new Everyday Wine range has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) for indirectly encouraging immoderate consumption.
The complainant, Alcohol Concern Wales, believed that SPAR, by naming the range Everyday Wine, was alluding to drinking the product everyday, going against the Chief Medical Officers' Guidelines on Low Risk Drinking which advises people who drink
regularly to have alcohol free days.
The Panel noted that the press releases were for the company's retailer audience and were not intended for consumer communication. The term everyday was used to position the product to retailers as lower priced wine. In both press releases the
wording used appeared as everyday drinking which linked the messaging to daily consumption of the product. The Panel concluded that the phrase was creating a direct correlation between low price and acceptability of everyday alcohol consumption,
although this may have been unintentional. When considered in the context of the 2016 CMOs' Guidelines the Panel agreed that the term everyday drinking was unacceptable under rule 3.2(f).
The Panel advised that all companies should carefully consider the language used in brand communications regardless of intended audience, because in a digital age there was always the potential for the communication to be seen by a wider group. In
this instance, a different phrase to categorise the range could have been used.
The Portman Group welcomed SPAR's confirmation that they would not use the term Everyday Wine in either consumer or retailer facing communications following the Panel's decision.
Universities minister Sam Gyimah hosts free speech summit and calls on higher
education leaders to work together to create new guidance on free speech
Free speech on campus should be encouraged and those attempting to shut it down must have nowhere to hide, the Universities Minister will make clear to sector leaders at a free speech summit he is chairing today (Thursday 3
Sam Gyimah will call on higher education organisations to stamp out the 'institutional hostility' to unfashionable views that have emerged in some student societies and will urge them to work with the government following
recent reports of a rise in so-called 'safe spaces' and 'no-platform' policies that have appeared on campuses.
He will say that the current landscape is "murky", with numerous pieces of disjointed sector guidance out there, creating a web of complexity which risks being exploited by those wishing to stifle free speech.
The Universities Minister will demand further action is taken to protect lawful free speech on campus and will offer to work with the sector to create new guidance that will for the first time provide clarity of the rules for
both students and universities -- making this the first government intervention of its kind since the free speech duty was introduced in 1986.
The guidance signals a new chapter for free speech on campus, ensuring future generations of students get exposure to stimulating debates and the diversity of viewpoints that lie at the very core of the university experience.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:
A society in which people feel they have a legitimate right to stop someone expressing their views on campus simply because they are unfashionable or unpopular is rather chilling.
There is a risk that overzealous interpretation of a dizzying variety of rules is acting as a brake on legal free speech on campus.
That is why I am bringing together leaders from across the higher education sector to clarify the rules and regulations around speakers and events to prevent bureaucrats or wreckers on campus from exploiting gaps for their
The free speech summit will be hosted in London and brings together a wide range of influential organisations, including those that have existing guidance in this area, such as the Charity Commission, UUK and EHRC.
The Office for Students, which came into force on April 1, will act to protect free speech and can use its powers to name, shame or even fine institutions for not upholding the principle of free speech. Michael Barber, Chair
of the Office for Students, said:
Our universities are places where free speech should always be promoted and fostered. That includes the ability for everyone to share views which may be challenging or unpopular, even if that makes some people feel
uncomfortable. This is what Timothy Garton-Ash calls 'robust civility'. The Office for Students will always encourage freedom of speech within the law. We will never intervene to restrict it.
Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK Chief Executive, said:
Universities are committed to promoting and protecting free speech within the law. Tens of thousands of speaking events are put on every year across the country, the majority pass without incident. A small number of flash
points do occasionally occur, on contentious or controversial issues, but universities do all they can to protect free speech so events continue.
As the Joint Committee on Human Rights recently found, there is no systematic problem with free speech in universities, but current advice can be strengthened. We welcome discussions with government and the National Union of
Students on how this can be done.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights launched an inquiry on freedom of speech on 22nd November and issued its report on 25th March. The roundtable attendee include:
Home Office -- Matt Collins, Director of Prevent
Office for Students (OfS) -- Yvonne Hawkins, Directer of Universities and Colleges
Charity Commission - Helen Stephenson, Chief Executive
NUS - Amatey Doku, Vice President
EHRC - Rebecca Thomas, Principal, Programmes
Universities UK (UUK) - Chris Hale, Director of Policy
iHE - Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive
GuildHE - Alex Bols, Deputy CEO
Offsite Comment: Banning students from banning speakers is beyond stupid
So, the government has finally come up with a solution to the scourge of yellow-bellied censoriousness that has swept
university campuses in recent years: it is going to ban it. Yes, it is going to ban banning. It is going to No Platform the No Platformers. It is going to force universities to be pro-free speech. Which is such a contradiction in terms it makes my
head hurt. You cannot use authoritarianism to tackle authoritarianism. This is a really bad thinking.
We've issued the following statement following reports of social media posts being made in relation to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation with Alfie Evans:
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said: Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.
I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.
Reporters Without Borders has published its annual review of Worldwide press freedom.
The Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists. It is a snapshot of the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety
of journalists in each country. It does not rank public policies even if governments obviously have a major impact on their country's ranking. Nor is it an indicator of the quality of journalism in each country.
The top 5 countries are Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland. The bottom 5 in descending order are China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea.
Reporters Without Borders offer a note about the UK's disgraceful 40th position in the rankings:
A worrying trend
A continued heavy-handed approach towards the press (often in the name of national security) has resulted in the UK keeping its status as one of the worst-ranked Western European countries in the World Press Freedom Index. The government began to
implement the Investigatory Powers Act -- the most extreme surveillance legislation in UK history -- with insufficient protection mechanisms for whistleblowers, journalists, and their sources. Home Secretary Amber Rudd repeatedly threatened to
restrict encryption tools such as WhatsApp and announced plans to criminalize the repeated viewing of extremist content. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 remained on the books, presenting cause for concern since the law's punitive
cost-shifting provision could hold publishers liable for the costs of all claims made against them, regardless of merit.
Both the Conservative and Labour parties restricted journalists' access to campaign events ahead of the June 2017 general election, and BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg received extensive online abuse and threats, resulting in her being
assigned bodyguards to cover the Labour Party conference.
Offshore law firm Appleby sued the BBC and The Guardian for breach of confidence over the Paradise Papers source materials, making them the only two media outlets out of 96 in 67 countries to have analyzed the Paradise Papers and taken to court.
Sheriff O'Carroll had told the court he did not believe Meechan had made the video only to annoy his girlfriend and ruled it was anti-Semitic. Fining Meechan, he said:
You deliberately chose the Holocaust as the theme of the video.
I also found it proved that the video contained anti-Semitic, and racist material, in that it explicitly and exclusively referred to Jews, the Holocaust and the role of the Nazis in the death of six million Jews in a grossly offensive manner. You
knew or must have known that.
The social work report on you is important. It is very favourable to you and, leaving aside the circumstances of this offence, shows you to have led a generally pro-social life thus far.
It also shows that you have learned a certain amount from your experiences and that you are of low risk of reoffending.
In these circumstances, I rule out a custodial sentence and therefore any alternative to a custodial sentence. You have a certain amount of income and other resources according to the reports. I now fine you the sum of 2£800.
Offsite Comment: Count Dankula and the death of free speech
On freedom of speech, Britain has become the laughing stock of the Western world. People actually laugh at us. I
recently gave a talk in Brazil on political correctness and I told the audience about the arrest and conviction of a Scottish man for publishing a video of his girlfriend's pug doing a Nazi salute for a joke and they laughed. Loudly. Some of them
refused to believed it was true.
Google has released their latest transparency report, for Youtube takedowns. It contains information about the number of
government requests for terrorist or extremist content to be removed. For a number of years, the government has promoted the idea that terrorist content is in rampant circulation, and that the amount of material is so abundant that the UK police
alone are taking down up to 100,000 pieces of content a year.
These referrals, to Google, Facebook and others, come from a unit hosted at the Metropolitan Police, called CTIRU, or the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referrals Unit
. This unit has very minimal transparency about its work. Apart from claiming to have removed over 300,000 pieces of terrorist-related content over a number of years, it refuses to say how large its workforce or budget are, and has never defined
what a piece of content is.
Google and Twitter publish separate takedown request figures for the UK that must be largely from CTIRU. The numbers are much smaller than the tens of thousands that might be expected at each platform given the CTIRU figures of around 100,000
removals a year. For instance, Google reported 683 UK government takedown requests for 2,491 items through
Google and Twitter's figures imply that CTIRU file perhaps 2,000-4,000 removal requests a year, for maybe 12,000 items at most, implying a statistical inflation by CTIRU of around 1,000%.
A number of CTIRU requests
have been published on the takedown transparency database Lumen. These sometimes have more than one URL for takedown. However this alone does not explain the disparity.
Perhaps a 'piece of terrorist content' is counted as that 'piece' viewed by each person known to follow a terrorist account, or perhaps everything on a web page is counted as a piece of terrorist content, meaning each web page might contain a
Nonetheless, we cannot discount the possibility that the methodologies for reporting at the companies are in some way flawed. Without further information from CTIRU, we simply don't know whose figures are more reliable.
There are concerns that go beyond the statistics. CTIRU's work is never reviewed by a judge, and there are no appeals to ask CTIRU to stop trying to remove a website or content. It compiles a secret list of websites to be blocked on the public
estate, such as schools, departmental offices or hospitals, supplied to unstated companies via the Home Office. More or less nothing is known: except for the headline figure.
Certainly, CTIRU do not provide the same level of transparency as Google and other companies claim to be providing.
People have tried extracting further information from CTIRU, such as the content of the blacklist, but without success. Ministers have refused to supply financial information to Parliament, citing national security. ORG is the latest group to ask
for information, for a list of statistics
and a list of documents
; turned down on grounds of national security and crime prevention. In the case of statistics, CTIRU are currently claiming they hold no statistics other than their overall takedown figure; which if true, seems astoundingly lax from even a basic
The methodology for calculating CTIRU's single statistic needs to be published, because what we do know about CTIRU is meaningless without it. Potentially, Parliament and the public are be being misled; or otherwise, misreporting by Internet
platforms needs to be corrected.
A woman from Liverpool has been found guilty of sending a supposedly grossly offensive message after posting rap
lyrics on Instagram.
The post referenced lyrics from Snap Dogg's I'm Trippin' to pay tribute to a 13-year-old boy who had died in a road crash in 2017. It is not clear exactly which words were deemed to 'hate crimes' but the words 'bitch' and 'nigga' seem to be
the only relevant candidates.
Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot of the woman's Instagram update (on a public profile), which was received by hate crime unit PC Dominique Walker. PC Walker told the court the term the woman had used was grossly offensive to
her as a black woman and to the general community.
The Liverpool Echo reported that the woman's defence had argued the usage of the word had changed over time and it had been used by superstar rapper Jay-Z in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury Festival.
The woman was given an eight-week community order, placed on an eight-week curfew and fined £585.
Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order as it was a 'hate crime'.
Offsite Comment: Now it's a crime to quote rap lyrics? Censorship in Britain is out of control.
Brendan O'Neill notes that these are the lyrics she quoted:
Off a whole gram of molly, and my bitch think I'm trippin.
Now I'm clutchin' on my forty, all I can think about is drillin''.
I hate fuck shit, slap a bitch nigga, kill a snitch nigga, rob a rich nigga.'
We now live under a bizarre tyranny of self-esteem, where hurt feelings can lead to court cases, and where the easily offended can marshal the state to crush those who dared to offend them. An unholy marriage between our wimpish offence-taking
culture and a state desperate to be seen as caring and purposeful has nurtured an insidious new censorship that targets everything from comedy and rap to criticism of Islam or strongly stated political views.
Police are to drop their controversial policy of automatically believing anyone who reports a crime.
A top-level report obtained by The Mail on Sunday says official guidance should be changed to tell detectives they must listen to victims and take them seriously -- but not automatically assume they are telling the truth.
The dramatic move follows a series of unjust inquiries based on false allegations that left dozens of innocent people's lives and reputations destroyed, including high-profile figures.
The U-turn has been drawn up by the College of Policing, which sets national standards, and after being considered by chief constables last week it will be sent to Home Office Ministers to become official policy.
Last night, former Police Minister David Mellor, who served under Leon Brittan, told the MoS: It's been obvious for years that the policy of automatic belief invites time-wasters and it's an invitation to cranks to come forward with ludicrous
allegations. He said:
Plainly if someone complains of a crime, that has got to be looked at, but the idea police should assume they're telling the truth invites dreadful injustice.
However, the change will be fiercely opposed by some feminist campaigners who seem to think that its ok to lock up innocent men, saying it will deter genuine rape victims from coming forward, for fear they will be disbelieved or ignored.
It takes 10s of 1000s of pounds for the justice system to consider the nuances of censorship and the right to be forgotten yet we hand over the task to Google who's only duty is to maximise profits for shareholders
A businessman fighting for the right to be forgotten has won a UK High Court action against Google.
The unnamed businessman who won his case was convicted 10 years ago of conspiring to intercept communications. He spent six months in jail. He as ked Google to delete online details of his conviction from Google Search but his request was turned
The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday.
But he rejected a separate but similar claim made by another businessman who had committed a more serious crime. The other businessman, who lost his case, was convicted more than 10 years ago of conspiring to account falsely. He spent four years
Google said it would accept the rulings.
We work hard to comply with the right to be forgotten, but we take great care not to remove search results that are in the public interest, it said in a statement:
We are pleased that the Court recognised our efforts in this area, and we will respect the judgements they have made in this case.'
Explaining the decisions made on Friday, the judge said one of the men had continued to mislead the public while the other had shown remorse.
But how is Google the right organisation to arbitrate on matters of justice where it is required to examine the level of remorse shown by those requesting censorship?
The BBC has defended a decision to air Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech on Radio 4.
The Archive on 4 programme, presented by BBC media editor Amol Rajan, will on Saturday broadcast the right-wing MP's anti-immigration speech - voiced by an actor - in full, for the first time.
The decision to do so was criticised as an incitement to racial hatred. The peer Andrew Adonis has called for the broadcast to be banned, and has written to the TV censor Ofcom. He wrote: What is happening to our public service broadcaster?
He said the speech was the worst incitement to racial violence by a public figure in modern Britain. He added: Obviously this matter will be raised in parliament should the broadcast go ahead.
Presumably critics are worried that the concerns voiced by Enoch Powell still exist today, and so may chime with listeners. Surely if this is the case, then it would be better if views were aired so that the authorities could address the concerns.
For instance if politicians had been better aware of such opinions, they would not have called the incredibly divisive Brexit referendum.
The BBC said there would be rigorous journalistic analysis and the show was not endorsing controversial views.
Delivered to local Conservative Party members in Birmingham, days before the second reading of the 1968 Race Relations Bill, then MP Powell referenced observations made by his Wolverhampton constituents including in 15 or 20 years' time the black
man will have the whip hand over the white man. He ended with a quote from Virgil's Aeneid, when civil war in Italy is predicted with the River Tiber foaming with much blood.
The anti-immigration speech ended his career in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet.
Archive on 4 will broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday at 8pm.
We received complaints from people who feel it is irresponsible to broadcast Enoch Powell's 1968 Rivers of Blood speech.
BBC Radio 4's well established programme Archive on 4 reflects in detail on historical events. Many people know of this controversial speech but few have heard it beyond soundbites and, in order to assess the speech fully and its impact on the
immigration debate, it will be analysed by a wide range of contributors including many anti-racism campaigners.
This is a rigorous journalistic analysis of a historical political speech. It is not an endorsement of the controversial views and we believe people should wait to hear the programme before they judge it.
Justice is not seen to being done in the UK. A string of cases have emerged where men have been prosecuted for
rape whilst evidence suggesting their innocence has been kept hidden away by the authorities. The presumption is that the authorities are willing to let innocent people be convicted so as to inflate the rape conviction rates to keep feminist
But once exposed, this failure in justice is surely very corrosive in trying to keep society ticking over in increasingly tetchy times.
So even the police have decided something needs to be done about this disastrous approach to justice. Met police commissioner Cressida Dick has announced that the police will abandon the policy of automatically believing 'victims '. [but
using the word 'victims' rather suggests the she still automatically believes complainants].
Dick said officers must investigate rather than blindly believe an allegation, and should keep an open mind when a 'victim' has come forward. It is very important to victims to feel that they are going to be believed , she told the Times.
[But what about when they are out and out lying]. She added:
Our default position is we are, of course, likely to believe you but we are investigators and we have to investigate.
Dick spoke about several other topics including a whinge about the violent undercurrent in some music, especially grime.
Meanwhile Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecution overseeing this disgraceful period of injustice, will not get her contract renewed by the government.