One of the key factors contributing to the decision of the court and Lady Dorrian to impose a previously unheard of draconian jail sentence on Craig Murray was that he was not, in the opinion of the court entitled to the same rights and privileges as a mainstream journalist.
Paragraph 4 of the judgement stated in disparaging terms:
“The applicant describes himself as a “journalist in new media”. Whatever that may involve, it is relevant to distinguish his position from that of the mainstream press, which is regulated, and subject to codes of practice and ethics in a way in which those writing as the applicant does are not. To the extent that the submissions for the applicant make comparisons with other press contempt’s, and the role of mainstream journalists, this is a factor which should be recognised.”
But online activity is not a devolved matter. It is reserved to the Westminster government who publicly announced 3 week before the judgement and comments of Lady Dorrian that Craig Murray was fully entitled in Law to consider himself to be a bona fide journalist. Lady Dorrian’s judgement was predicated on a misinterpretation of her powers and that of the court.
This is the position of the Westminster government, published three weeks before lady Dorrian’s sentencing of Craig Murray.
Media minister John Whittingdale, speaking for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said; “citizen journalists will have the same protections for their work as professional news providers adding, “we don’t want the legislation to lead to a ‘woke web’ where legitimate journalism is censored. That’s why we’ve built in safeguards so that content from news publishers will not be in scope of new laws, including content shared on social media platforms, and media providers will need to factor in the crucial role of journalism as well as freedom of expression in their moderation decisions. A vibrant and free media is essential to our democracy and our Bill will make sure vital public interest journalism can reach its audience without interference.