Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Friday, 3 May 2013

You have the right to remain...anonymous? Police censorship

This topic overlaps with the broader issue of privacy and the tensions between the right to privacy enshrined under European law (augmented by further laws in most European states too) and the freedom to report, especially with regards to the powerful, and hold the actions of state agents/the powerful up to public scrutiny...

The UK police are actively campaigning (that statement itself suggests the role of the UK police has shifted over the past decade or so, as they are traditionally a strictly neutral agency, in theory at least) for the right of the media to name arrested suspects to be withdrawn.

See Roy Greenslade's blog post on this, where he quotes from press editorials and conflicting demands from the police over this (police on the Stuart Hall case were clear that it was the publicity that brought most victims forward - after his arrest), but fundamentally seeks to highlight the dangers of this in a democracy. [That's Stuart Hall the disgraced former BBC presenter, not the great academic who died in 2014]

Here's an excerpt:
The Mail devotes today's leading article, "Charging headlong towards a secret state", to the lessons of both the Warwickshire and Hall cases. It says:
"Make no mistake: the risks to justice and liberty of arresting and charging suspects in secret could not be more serious.
If the public are not allowed to know an innocent man or woman has been seized, how are they supposed to come forward with any information which could clear the accused, such as a cast-iron alibi?
Where a guilty suspect is concerned, there's a danger that witnesses' or, indeed, victims' evidence will never be heard."
And there is also an op-ed piece by John Kampfner in which he argues that "police secrecy insults democracy". He writes:
"The worst form of abuse of power is when the forces of law and order see their job as not just dispensing the law, but as making it and interpreting it in whatever way they see fit.
By deciding that individuals facing charges should not be named, the police appear to be doing just that."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments and suggestions are very welcome ... but please ensure all comments are appropriate! All comments are moderated before publication. Spam will be reported