Internet sites targeted by MPs for first time 'in chilling threat to free speech'… but could bloggers also face huge damages in Press crackdown? … The internet will be targeted for the first time as the 'chilling' Royal Charter attempts to curb free speech on the majority of websites and blogs, experts warned today. The draft version of the document suggests that foreign-based or owned websites such as Twitter, Huffington Post, Facebook, Holy Moly, the Guido Fawkes political site and even The New York Times will be subject to the stifling controls if their articles are aimed at 'an audience in the UK'. – Daily Mail
Dominant Social Theme: The UK press is out of control and must be regulated.
Free-Market Analysis: Not so long ago we wrote that certain big scandals were being manufactured to provide a justification for further regulation. And we were right.
Now comes a "crackdown" – out of nowhere – on not just UK mainstream publications but the real target, which is the Internet and more specifically Internet news. See excerpt above.
We already anticipated this here, well over a year ago: Real Reason for Murdoch's PhoneGate … Press Regulation?
We have made to us what seems obvious – a commitment to analyzing directed history – and now many things are coming into focus. It now seems to us that this puffed-British phone-hacking scandal is nothing more than an effort by the powers-that-be to put into place further press regulation in Britain.
In America, right now Congress is trying to regulate the Internet. But in Britain, old-line Anglosphere Money Power is apparently hard at work erasing British press liberties that go back centuries. This makes sense to us, given that Murdoch is evidently and obviously a Money Power man, funded by the power elite that is trying to rule the world and positioned as the "conservative" voice to a plethora of liberal media groups.
Many if not most major scandals these days are being manufactured like show trials to create a precedent for further regulation. The regulation is being fomented by globalists that want evermore expansive world government and see the current free-flow of information as standing in their way.
The real target of the phone-hacking scandal in Britain was the Internet itself. Else, how does the Internet get dragged into a mainstream fracas over the private wiretapping of some prominent entertainment people?
And, of course, as usual, there is "confusion" over the regulations that makes it look as if the outcome was not in fact preplanned. But of course it probably was. Those behind all this know exactly what they are doing, or trying to do. In the Internet era, however, this kind of bait-and-switch may be harder to implement. Here's more from the article:
As confusion mounted about exactly who would be covered, the government said it would leave it entirely up to the new regulator to decide whether major foreign sites should be made to sign up. There was a growing backlash from the Press with Financial Editor Lionel Barber attacking the plans as a 'horse traders' ball'. The Spectator also formally rejected the scheme.
The government claimed that 'small bloggers' would not be caught in the plan – but admitted this was still not decided. Lawyers say large foreign organisations could, like newspapers, be pursued for 'exemplary' damages of up to £1million in defamation and other cases if they failed to abide by its rules – even if they have their business or servers in other countries like America and Ireland.
Even if they won a libel case in the High Court they could also be blocked from claiming back any legal costs under the proposed rules, meaning these huge financial penalties could be an incentive for them to sign up. The document says: 'The new rules would cover newspapers, magazines and websites containing "news-related material", even if the websites are not connected to a printed paper or journal …
Lawyers have said the wording is unclear and very wide-ranging. Niri Shan, Head of Media Law at Taylor Wessing, said: " … I don't think the intention is to target bloggers, but currently it would." Mr Shan, one of the UK's top libel lawyers, said that media organisations based abroad have rarely ignored British libel judgements as damages would only be secured against their assets in the UK, like an office.
Meanwhile there were clear indications that the Press will not sign up to the scheme. Financial Times editor Lionel Barber described the way the plan was agreed in late-night talks between the political parties and Hacked Off as a 'horse traders' ball' and said his newspaper had yet to decide whether it would sign up to the new arrangements.
'This has not been a satisfactory process. We have not decided at the Financial Times whether we are going to join up with the new regulator. We will be looking at the practical implications and, above all, what has been completely lost in this process, the cost,' he told BBC Radio 4's The World At One …
Guidelines: The charter appears to say that anyone with a website who aims stories at a UK audience, like Holy Moly for example, should be 'nervous', experts say. However, despite the language in the draft Charter, there remained political confusion last night as Downing Street said the regulatory regime was not aimed at bloggers, and giants like Facebook and Twitter.
Adding to this lack of clarity, during an interview on Newsnight last night, Tory part co-chairman Grant Shapps said this was still not confirmed … To get this Byzantine system of regulation off the ground will require countless meetings involving dozens of panel members and independent experts. The danger is that it will collapse under its own complexity.
Hmm … Sounds like the powers-that-be have lost patience with the Internet – which has exposed too much about government power and the people behind it.
But the same problems that have arisen regarding taxing the Internet are going to plague this latest development. How does one determine whether a British or UK audience has been "targeted?" And even if a judgment is obtained civilly why would the enterprise in question pay damages if it could avoid it?
The phone hacking scandal never made much sense, as Britain is currently the most spied-upon country in the world. The legislation it has spawned, or is spawning, makes no more sense.
Like copyright itself, it will prove a confusing and incompetent mess for both potential targets and just as importantly investors who are trying to sort through the increasingly muddled borders between government fiat and private initiative.