My Witness Statement to the Leveson Inquiry on Blogging & Ethics

STATEMENT TO THE LEVESON INQUIRY BY FRANCIS FITZGIBBON QC

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About Francis FitzGibbon QC

I am a QC and member of Doughty Street Chambers, London (www.doughtystreet.co.uk). I practise criminal law. Please do not look for legal advice in this blog as you won't find any. The views expressed here are my own.
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9 Responses to My Witness Statement to the Leveson Inquiry on Blogging & Ethics

  1. kris says:

    Am I the only one bemused by Leveson’s fascination with blogging?

    The internet is a cesspit, with even Twitter awash with porn bots – and Leveson’s worried about you and I expressing an opinion on reported news? I wonder if the ethic cops will vist tweetups and listen in on pub chat next?

    Few bloggers are “reporters” – unless of course commenting on stories reported on the BBC makes me one.

    I am an observer. My blog is the letter to the Editor he’d never publish.

    So what? Stoke Newington self-publishing has a long history – and if someone thinks I or any other blooger has defamed them, they have an existing action in law.

    In my well paid opinion, these things – they really don’t matter. ;-)

    I expect to carry on making a nuisance of myself for the forseeable.

  2. notjarvis says:

    Leveson can only go on what he’s told. And virtually every newspaper editor and reporter has pointed their finger at the internet and blogging as being a lawless wilderness where slander and libel proliferate.

    Newspapers don”t make money anymore and are desperately trying to cover the fact.

  3. Grumpy says:

    Outstanding statement. There’s a strange sort of half-parallel here with the classical record industry: while the business’s traditional model is self-evidently broken, it is burying its head in the sand, ignoring the lessons of history and trying to by all means to denigrate, obstruct and prevent the obvious way forward, which is delivery by internet. Ditto traditional sources of information about classical recordings – the internet is by and large more useful and informative than Gramophone magazine and the like.
    xx Grumpy

  4. Pingback: #Without Prejudice 19 podcast: The Leveson Inquiry and The Twitter Joke Trial appeal « Charon QC

  5. Sam Michel says:

    Brilliant statement. I’ve sat in on so many corporate sessions working on their policies and what you’ve outlined show a rationale approach in a profession were the consequences of what you say publicly can have a far more direct effect than a ill-judged corporate blog.

    I’ve been reading round the subject as it forms part of the core topics for an event we’ve been working on that’s part of next week’s Social Media Week London festival. If you or your readers fancy popping along, it’s a free event, an interview and Q&A with Mark Stephens CBE at The Design Council in Covent Garden on Tue 14, 3-5pm:

    Freedom of Tweet: Censorship, Governments, Marketers & The Law

    http://chw.ag/dRa

  6. at the risk of merely repeating the comments above, this strikes me as an excellent, measured apologia for blogging as a whole. it seeks to make the key distinction between individual blogs or bloggers and the exchange of views and dissemination of information that blogging can facilitate. that in turn stimulates the democratisation of knowledge. that process may have its issues, and may strike fear in the hearts of conservatives just as the translation of the bible into english once did, but it is surely positive overall, and irreversible in any event.

    it also sounds like trying to describe an elephant to a blind man. perhaps the biggest point that leveson seems to fail to have grasped (yet, at least) is that the online world is just the everyday world with an incomprehensible (to him – and indeed to me) new delivery system. it reminds me of when trevor bailey on tms was asked whether he was on the internet: ‘i don’t even know what an internet looks like’.

    i feel leveson is trying to find out what an internet looks like. the truth is it looks like whatever you want it to. it is as plural, as protean, as that. but of course it doesn’t matter what it looks like – what matters is what it does and how we use it. and the statement sets that out admirably.

  7. Pingback: #WithoutPrejudice 20 podcast: ABS and disruptives – Judicial advocacy assessment – Sun arrests – value of legal blogging « Charon QC

  8. I simply loved Reading your witness Statement to the Inquiry. Thankfully it supports my own views and will neatly fit with my own witness statement.
    I totally agree that the Police should prosecute under the Communications Act 2003 and the Harassment Act 1997 when blogging enters the illegal.

    In my view companies like Google and WordPress should be made responsible for blogging which breeches the Laws of England and Wales if the content is downloadable in the jurisdiction.

    It is really only common sense if child porn and hate blogging against groups can be removed by Google and WordPress then they can remove hate blogging and obvious libel against individuals. this is not a huge jump. the E-commerce Act should cover Google and WordPress and or otherwise they are publishers.

    Thank you for your excellent Witness Statement I wish I had the benefit of your excellent and balanced mind.

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