Freedom of Expression is Absolute

According to the respected human rights advocacy group, Article 19, in 2003 Iran became the first country ever to imprison a blogger for views expressed online. Since then, over 28 bloggers and online journalists have been imprisoned on various charges such as “insulting the Supreme Guide, propaganda against the regime, threatening national security, incitement to rebellion and insulting leading figures in the regime.”

Every day Guido wakes up with the sole intention of inciting rebellion and insulting leading figures in our own regime – so a sense of solidarity is natural.

Guido ventures into foreign matters only because the dead-tree-press are getting into a bit of a lather about us hoi polloi writing, horror, what we like on blogs, Jonathan Freedland is today’s worrier about the health of the blogosphere. His focus is on unruly comments. He notes the quip “First they came for the commenters, and I said nothing because I did not comment.” That sentiment is Guido’s feeling. The comments here do get out of hand occasionally (imagine what they’d be like if Guido didn’t hit delete). The house rules are mysterious, arbitrary and sometimes inconsistently exercised. But this blog is not a public service, it is private property, no taxpayers were harmed in the production of this blog. Nobody forces you to come here, you don’t have to read it, so if you don’t like it, don’t come back.

Time is Ripe for a Code of Conduct

The commentariat are hyper-ventilating (again) about creating a voluntary code of conduct for blogs and even self-certifying seals of approval corresponding to publicly established guidelines. Guido would like to see the old media and dead-tree-press implement it.

They would of course need corresponding badges of approval to signify a story in these categories:

Fully Spun : Story written up after being called by or out-to-lunch with a politician / SpAd / government spokesman. No checking, just taking dictation.

Pinocchio piece : Journalist knows it is probably an untrue flyer, but it will fill the white space in the paper and the source will owe one for helping out with placement of disinformation. Good for a Sunday splash.

Frame game : Journalist uses terms coined by focus groups on behalf of politicians to frame their opponents using language tested the same way as washing powder. Can produce a snappy headline. Won’t wash.

Secret formula source : Anonymous official source whose purpose is to smear a political opponent or leak misleading information is given an unqualified write up – as in “sources close to CPS say there will be no prosecutions”. See Mark Townsend.

Old news : Story reported elsewhere is used as a justification not to revisit a developing story when significant new information surfaces. See, forinstance, the Guardian’s non-reporting of new revelations in the Smith Institute scandal. Polly Toynbee is on the board of the Sith.

Obscenely Hypocritical Guardian

Leader, Thursday March 22, 2007

For richer, for poorer

You don’t have to be one of those obscenely overpaid City analysts to recognise that the number one thing on Gordon Brown’s mind yesterday was politics.
Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, was paid £487,000 last year. Obscenely hypocritical?

Letts Losing Dacre’s Favour?

Apart from the Mirror and The Times, the Daily Mail is (counter-intuitively) the biggest dead-tree-press cheerleader for Gordon. The Mail’s brilliant Quentin Letts has a Straw-not-Gordon article published in online-only magazine First Post. Strange that it didn’t appear as a Mail column really. Did it get spiked by Dacre?

Mark Townsend – Fancy a Bet?

Is Mark Townsend a patsy, a liar or an idiot? Is he fit for purpose? You decide. Guido (and his source) would like a little wager Mark…

See also.

UPDATE : Just got off the phone with Mark Townsend and he has bet £20.

Support the Guardian Strike!

Guido hears that the lowly paid hacks at Guardian Online are balloting on going on strike over low pay. Guido thinks this is one union action well worth supporting.

The fact that the Guardian Online makes a hefty contribution to the £50 million in losses that the company made last year seems to have escaped the hacks. Nevertheless Guido has a cunning idea for Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger* to enable him to turn the the fortunes of the company around at a stroke. Get the Comment is Free bloggers to write the whole thing for nothing. Scab bloggers are the future (and even cheaper).

*Rusbridger himself gets by on a mere £487,000.

UPDATE : Have thought about this and in a moment of Churchillian sacrifice have decided to offer to help. Have emailed Georgina Henry offering to assist:

Georgina,

I know in the past when you asked I said I would never write for Guardian Online. But if this strike ballot goes against you and the hacks go on strike you can count on my assistance, like Churchill during the 1926 General Strike when he edited the British Gazette.

If he can do it, so can Guido.

Proud to Scab,

Guido Fawkes Esq.

‘The News’ Is No Longer Defined By Big Media

Some journalists are trying to make sense of what is happening here, as blogging Davids take the story along ahead of media Goliaths. The best book on the subject is An Army of Davids, subtitled “How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths”, by Glenn Reynolds. This is the 21st century, the days of media conglomerates making the news in a top-down Fordist fashion are over. Boutique news sources will proliferate.The “news” is no longer what Paxman says it is, the news is whatever is disseminated to a wide audience, Big Media is going to be disintermediated when it falls down because technology has drastically reduced the cost of dissemination. Failing to hold our political class to account is thefailing of Big Media in Britain.If Prescott was a soap-star on a second-rate TV show he would have had more scrutiny of his sleazy affairs than he has had to date.

Does the media have it’s priorities right?

Polly Hypocrisy

From: Guy Fawkes guido.fawkes@order-order.com
To: polly.toynbee@guardian.co.uk
Date: Apr 21, 2006 10:42 AM
Subject: How much do you earn per annum?

From: polly.toynbee@guardian.co.uk To: Guy Fawkes
Date: Apr 21, 2006 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: How much do you earn per annum?

Why should I tell you, who don’t even give your true name or address? An organisation has to go public all together.

From: Guy Fawkes guido.fawkes@order-order.com
Date: Apr 21, 2006 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: How much do you earn per annum?
To: “polly.toynbee@guardian.co.uk”

Err, because you wrote an article headlined “Throw open the books so that we can see what everyone earns” stating that “trust and social glue are corroded by pay secrecy”.

And because, as you wrote, “the highly paid command the citadels of public debate, they grossly distort the true picture of the way most people live now. Making sense of reward is difficult – but the debate has to begin by throwing open the books. It wouldn’t hurt much if everyone had to do it together.”

Polly Toynbee is, Guido understands, on the books for £140,000 a year at The Guardian.

UPDATE : The Sunday Telegraph is after her as well.



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Quote of the Day

Theresa May tells Bercow:

“Mr Speaker-elect, can I congratulate you on your re-election. At least someone got a landslide.”

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