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  • Site Meter

    Exclusive: more on the Al-Jazeera memo


    by Sunny on 16th May, 2007 at 8:11 pm    

    As I pointed out below, the trial regarding the Bush-Blair memo that was leaked last year concluded recently. I also pointed out that this was the infamous memo that allegedly discussed the bombing of al-Jazeera. I’ve been informed by a reader that apparently writing the two preceeding statements in the same article is flouting the law. On his own blog at NS, Martin Bright had to write two seperate blog entries: one about the court ruling and another on Al-Jazeera.

    Fortunately for us the judge’s ruling referred to newspapers not electronic blogs. This is how desperate civil servants have become in order to de-link the two. No one has yet published the full memo but it surely should be a matter of time. What I do have exclusively here is the court ruling that you can download from here.
    The main bit:

    It follows, and this is for the guidance of the press in the interim before I produce my full reasons, this does mean that the members of the press and their colleagues in other media can continue to recycle information that is currently in the public domain so long as any material published or broadcast does not suggest that that information equals, or may equal, the evidence or statements concerning the matters that were dealt with in camera in this trial. If that means they have to have one article recycling the material in the public domain on one page of the newspaper in one item of news and they have to have another article or another item of news dealing with the trial, then so be it.



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    3 Comments   |  


    1. Radical Muslim — on 17th May, 2007 at 2:20 am  

      Al Jazeera Memo Update…

      I last wrote about the Al Jazeera Memo a short while ago. Sunny at Pickled Politics has the latest here and here. If anyone has a copy of the Memo I’d be pleased to get a copy too.  

      ……

    2. Bartholomew — on 17th May, 2007 at 10:01 pm  

      If the judge is anything like this guy, we can guess why blogs are not covered:

      A British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like “Web site” in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.

      Judge Peter Openshaw broke into the questioning of a witness about a Web forum used by alleged Islamist radicals.

      “The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is,” he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

      Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms “Web site” and “forum.” An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: “I haven’t quite grasped the concepts.”

      Cue Rowan Atkinson.

    3. Robert — on 20th May, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

      Its just a series of tubes, isn’t it?

      There really is no excuse for the kind of ignorance displayed by Judge Openshaw. Five years ago maybe, but the web is so ubiquitous now that I would say that judge is neglecting his basic duty to be generally in touch with the county over which he sits in judgement. Learning the definition of a website is pretty easy. Why, he could just Google for it. :-)

      More difficult is the ruling regarding the memo referred to in the main article. I think most judges do have a grasp on the ephemeral and somewhat transient nature of web-sites, and how they become very slippery things when it comes to libel, secrecy and censorship. Its interesting how the lead on such legal issues have not come from governments, but from organisations such as Creative Commons (although that is to do with copyright law).

      The point (and a delightful one it is too) is that the web will force governments and those in power to rethink the way they conduct themselves with regards to the flow of information. It has been almost a cliche to speak of the web as a democratising force, but it is worth repeating ad nauseum.

      What is also interesting is the relative naivety of governments regarding such things. Think of the staggering ineptitude of people like Jo Moore and her “bury bad news” e-mail, or the UN sending out doctored reports on Syria with all the tracked changes still embedded. Of course there is an inevitable wrangling over this memo… but it is also inevitable that its contents will be exposed eventually, and when they do it will be electronically.

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