Banned In The U.K.
I think we have to take every case on its own facts,” said George Freeman, vice president and assistant general counsel of The New York Times Company. “But we’re dealing with a country that, while it doesn’t have a First Amendment, it does have a free press, and it’s our position it that we ought to respect that country’s laws.”Get it? They don’t have a first amendment but they do have a free press, and to respect that the Times is censoring this news.
Sounds like Brits who want print copies of the story are out of luck. But what about the Internet? The Times thought of that, and blocked British addresses from its site. Any Brits who click on the above link will get the following message: “On advice of legal counsel, this article is unavailable to readers of nytimes.com in Britain. This arises from the requirement in British law that prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial.”
I learned all of this from a Times article about its own self-censorship, Times Withholds Web Article In Britain. Well, not really. Actually I read the story where it had been cut and pasted onto this guy’s blog, which is accessible from Britain. And if you scroll down below the censorship story you’ll find a perfectly mirrored copy of Details Emerge in British Terror Case, photograph and all. The centuries-old (I’m guessing) British censorship law has officially lost its teeth.
So do you think Britain will rescind the don’t-write-about-trials law, now that the Internet makes it useless in regards to its intended purpose? Or will it maintain the hypocritical stance that so long as print versions aren’t available, that’s reason enough for the law to remain?
P.S. Three cheers for metafilter, where I found this story.