A court has banned the BBC from broadcasting a film about last summer's riots. The film, about the experiences of rioters during the disturbances, was due to be broadcast on BBC2.
The two part series is a dramatisation based on the testimony
of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder. It features actors who play anonymous rioters speaking about their experiences of the riots last August.
In a blog posted before the film was
pulled, a BBC producer on the project said that using the important and illuminating interviews in the drama would provide insight into why and how the riots had happened .
The BBC did not give details about the nature of the court
Update: Murder trial judge banned documentary over possible issues of sub judice
A judge prevented the BBC from broadcasting two documentaries about last summer's riots without having watched the films -- and later prevented the media from reporting his injunction.
Mr Justice Flaux, who was presiding over the murder
trial of eight men who were acquitted at Birmingham crown court on Thursday, made the injunction on the grounds that the film raised issues which echoed arguments put before his jury.
He used an unusual power under section 45 of the Senior
Courts Act 1981, which in some circumstances grants crown court judges the same powers as those used by the high court, to prevent the film from being broadcast.
The BBC and Guardian had sought to challenge the ruling, on the grounds that the
films made no reference to the case being considered by the jury and did not even mention rioting in Birmingham.
However, the judge rejected the appeal, saying the films touched on issues related to his case, and if he were to allow the films to
be broadcast, jurors could potentially have social contact with others who watched the programmes.
The end of the trial rendered the orders redundant.
The BBC has spoken about a court order that banned it from showing two drama-documentaries about last summer's riots, as legal experts questioned the excessive injunction. In a statement, the BBC said:
was of the firm view that as the programmes did not contain any reference to the incident which was the subject of the trial their broadcast could not have affected the trial's outcome.
As makers of current affairs programmes we
felt this was a critical point regarding the freedom of the media to discuss matters that are of general public interest. We were disappointed by the judge's ruling which prevented the programmes from being broadcast until the jury returned its verdicts.
Now that has happened, we are pleased to be able to show the programmes.
Legal experts have also said the injunction raises troubling questions about the freedom of the media to report on issues in the public interest. Media law
expert David Banks said:
It is very worrying in that it effectively negates the section 5 'discussion of public affairs' defence in contempt of court which is at the heart of the 1981 act and which balances freedom of
expression and the right to a fair trial. I think the judge was wrong in saying the right to a fair trial outweighed the interest in broadcasting the programme -- there is a balance to be struck and one right does not automatically outweigh another.
David Allen Green, the legal commentator and head of media at law firm Preiskel & Co, said there was a strong public interest in the documentary being shown:
For a court to order a national
broadcaster not to show such a programme really should only be done if there was direct evidence of prejudicial content. As it was, the film was anonymised and we are told it did not refer to the Birmingham incident at all. If so, the court order was
excessive and misconceived.
More than two-thirds of adults support the shutdown of social networks during periods of social unrest such as the riots in England this summer, new research has revealed.
A poll of 973 adults carried out for the online security firm Unisys found
70% of adults supported the shutdown of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), while only 27% disagreed.
However analysis by the Guardian of 2.5m tweets relating to the riots, part of its Reading the Riots study in conjunction
with the London School of Economics, found little evidence to support claims the network had been used to instigate unrest. However, the BBM network was believed to have played a role in organising disturbances.
Freedom of expression campaigners
said they were worried that Britons were sanctioning draconian measures as ever more services shift online. Padraig Reidy, news editor of Index on Censorship said:
It's very worrying that people would believe shutting
down social networks would be in any way desirable. The vast majority of social network use during the unrest was people sreading information and helping each other get home safely. These kinds of actions would weaken the UK's position against
authoritarian regimes who censor internet access. As we live more of our lives online, people should be conscious of the amount of power they're potentially handing over to government.
Dick Costolo, Twitter's chief, has stood by the company's decision not to suspend the service during the UK riots or disclose user identities to authorities.
Speaking at the annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Costolo referred specifically to
the UK riots when talking about the need to ensure Twitter remains a platform upon which freedom of speech is prioritised , even during times of civil unrest:
One of our core values is respect and the need to defend
the user's voice, he explained. In the case of the London riots...the majority of the tweets were more about organising cleans ups [rather than inciting violence].
It was thought that after a number of executives from Twitter,
Facebook and Blackberry were summoned to a meeting with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, after their services were used to coordinate and encourage looting during the UK riots, the Government would try to temporarily suspend the digital networks.
However, Costolo revealed that instead of engaging in shut down talks in such meetings, it told government officials that the hope is the majority of tweets around a hot topic such as the riots, will be geared at trying to help matters, rather
than incite more violence.
A teenager who incited his 2,000 Facebook friends to riot was inspired by a violent cult film about gangs ruling the streets, a court has heard.
Amed Pelle, 18,
sent three messages on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday following the outbreak of violence in his home city of Nottingham.
The first two read: Nottz Riot whose onit? and Kill one black youth, we kill a million
Fedz [police], riot til we own cities .
In his third message, Pelle asked if friends wanted goods from a fashion shop. He wrote: Rioting 2nyt anyone want anything from Flannels? The store, in the city
centre, had its windows smashed hours later.
Unemployed Pelle pleaded guilty at Nottingham magistrates' court to a breach of section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was remanded in custody for sentencing at the
city's crown court.
Prosecutor John Wallis said Pelle told police that he had watched a film called Shank , in which gangs take over London, and that he wanted the same to happen here . The 2010 film
depicted an apocalyptic future capital where gangs of youths rule the streets and carry out looting and wanton violence.
Pelle, who is from Cuba, was arrested after police officers spotted the messages while monitoring
social networking sites during the trouble in the city.
Legalised sodomy and pornography and moral-free sex education
David Cameron has identified the causes of the riots and looting this week in
Britain. It is a lack of responsibility, which comes from a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals. It is as much a moral problem as a political problem, he has said.
We must give him full marks for stating the blindingly obvious. People behave well for one of two reasons; either they have the fear of God before their eyes, or the fear of the long arm of the law. In other words, either an
internal or an external moral compass is necessary for good behaviour.
But who defines good behaviour ?
David Cameron blames the parents ('a lack of proper parenting, a lack
of proper upbringing'), but does he realise that 50% of children are growing up in Britain without their natural father?
Who is responsible for that if it isn't the politicians who legalised no-fault divorce on demand
in the 1960s, legalised sodomy and pornography, brought in moral-free sex education around the same time and pushed condoms at teenagers just because they hated Christian morality?
And who is equally responsible if not
the present Coalition Government which allows all of that to continue on its life-destroying way, not seeing any of it as an offence against proper morals ?
Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to explore ways to halt the use of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger if
these were being used to plot violence, disorder and criminality.
All three have been implicated in rioters' ability to communicate since the violence began in London on Saturday. A solemn David Cameron
addressing the House of Commons about the riots
The Government and the intelligence agencies MI5 and GCHQ are in talks with mobile phone companies and internet service providers about how they might prevent gang
leaders from co-ordinating looting raids using social media.
Senior sources said that among the options they are considering are turning off mobile phone masts in riot areas or shutting down the accounts of known
suspects when trouble starts.
Social media is being targeted as there is no straight-forward way for police to cut off individual's phones at short notice.
Technology blogger for
Msnbc Rosa Golijan said the Government had three options to prevent rioters from using social media; banning individuals from social media sites, black-listing certain web-pages in the way the China does, or temporarily shutting down the internet.
Surely turning off the internet would be enough to cause a riot in the streets
We are in the process of drawing the government's attention to the role of the media in the riots. Not the only cause, but a very significant one that must not be ignored. See how the hugely
popular videogame Grand Theft Auto glamourises crime.