The judgement of Lady Dorrian
The arbitrary judgement of Lady Dorrian introducing a division of accountability between journalists of the “new media” and “mainstream media”, needs to be challenged and set aside since its retention as a legal judgement will establish dangerous precedence in Scottish law. The glaring flaw in her pronouncements is that control of media is retained by Westminster and online safety legislation is clearly at odds with her views.
Extract: Craig Murray’s report on his appeal hearing 23 February 2022
Lord Matthews said that the protection quoted in the ECHR case extended to investigative journalism and this was not investigative journalism. It said this applied to press offences, but was this a press offence? Was I a journalist?
Lord Woolman asked whether, if I could be called a journalist, did that mean just anybody could be a journalist who published on social media?
Dunlop replied anybody who was fulfilling the role of a public watchdog, according to the European Court of Human Rights.
Lord Pentland said that particular judgement appeared to refer to NGOs rather than individuals.
Dunlop said it specifically included bloggers.
Pentland said he thought it mainly meant NGO but they would look at it.
Comment: Dearie me!!! and this lot sit in judgement!!
2021: The online-safety-bill-journalism-safeguards
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that citizen journalists will have the same protections for their work as professional news providers. (https://pressgazette.co.uk/online-safety-bill-journalism-safeguards)
2014- Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
The High Commissioner stated that sound, bold and independent journalism was vital in any democratic society. It drove the right to hold and express opinions and the right to seek, impart and receive information and ideas; it ensured transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs and other matters of public interest; and was the lifeblood that fuels the full and informed participation of all individuals in political life and decision-making processes.
The Security Council, in its resolution 1738 (2006), the General Assembly, in its resolution 68/163, and the Human Rights Council, in its resolution 21/12, had all condemned attacks against journalists. They had called upon all States to act on their legal obligations to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists so that they were able to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
States must create an enabling environment in which the rights of journalists and other members of society could be fully respected, with clear and public agreement by officials that issues of public interest could, and should, be examined and discussed openly in the media.
On the question of who could be considered a journalist, the High Commissioner confirmed that, from a human rights perspective, all individuals were entitled to the full protection of their human rights whether the State recognized them as journalists or not; whether they were professional reporters or “citizen journalists”; whether or not they had a degree in journalism; and whether they reported online or offline. In this context, she reminded the Council that the Human Rights Committee had, in its general comment no. 34, defined journalism as “a function shared by a wide range of actors, including professional full-time reporters and analysts, as well as bloggers and others who engage in forms of self-publication in print, on the Internet or elsewhere”.
When fear prompts journalists to self-censor, the free flow of information is impaired, and the public is deprived of reliable, critical and independent information. States had both a duty to respect and a duty to protect journalists, who should be able to carry out their work unhindered and without fear. Governments were called upon to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists, online as well as offline, so that they could perform their work independently, without undue interference and without fear of censorship, persecution or prosecution. This required political will, as well as legal and judicial measures, but also the fostering of a culture of respect for the critical role of the media in any democracy.
Speakers noted that bloggers, online journalists and citizen journalists played an important role in the promotion of human rights. Threats and attacks against such actors, including through their unlawful or arbitrary detention, were condemned. Delegates stated that the protection of journalists should cover all news providers, both professional and non-professional. (https://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/hrc/regularsessions/session27/documents/a-hrc-27-35_en.doc)
Comment: Sometimes the truth is the biggest threat when exposure threatens a certain group. Such groups could be guilty of subverting the rule of law and this brings with it the possibility that someone will be going to jail over the truth and it shouldn’t be the Blogger.