Friday, March 22, 2013

Internet sites targeted by Britain for first time ‘in chilling threat to free speech’... but could bloggers also face huge damages in Press crackdown?

The internet will be targeted for the first time as the 'chilling' Royal Charter attempts to curb free speech on the majority of websites and blogs, experts warned today.

The draft version of the document also suggests that foreign-based or owned websites such as Twitter, Huffington Post, Facebook, Holy Moly, the Guido Fawkes political site and even The New York Times will also be subject to the stifling controls if their articles are aimed at 'an audience in the UK'.

But as confusion mounted about exactly who would be covered, the government said it would leave it entirely up to the new regulator to decide whether major foreign sites should be made to sign up. It also claimed that 'small' blogging sites would be exempt.

Lawyers say large foreign organisations could, like newspapers, be pursued for 'exemplary' damages of up to £1million in defamation and other cases if they failed to abide by its rules - even if they have their business or servers in other countries like America and Ireland.

Even if they won a libel case in the High Court they could also be blocked from claiming back any legal costs under the proposed rules, meaning these huge financial penalties could be an incentive for them to sign up.

The document says: 'The new rules would cover newspapers, magazines and websites containing "news-related material", even if the websites are not connected to a printed paper or journal.

The Royal Charter also states that it will cover 'news-related material' including current affairs news and information, opinion and 'gossip about celebrities, other public figures and other persons in the news'.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: 'The fact that in the proposed regulation all things and all people are covered, is very disturbing.

'That is your blog, your forum, your twitter feed, your Facebook page, in fact almost the whole of contemporary discourse. The only place left to speak out will be in the pub… and they are closing at 10 a week due to a series of ill thought out government measures'.



Anonymous said...

Looks like Sharia Law is already making it's way into the daily lives of Brits. Everyone knows this was going to happen, but didn't realize it would be this soon.

Anonymous said...

To all the companies that are gonna get hit by this: get out! Fire all the Brits working for your UK divisions and get out!

Anonymous said...

Message To The British People:

Still think you live in a free country? (LOL) Twits!

Anonymous said...

10 pubs a week closing! Now.that's a nightmare. Not allowed to complain or criticize and you can't even get a drink. Sounds like they are doomed.

Anonymous said...

Dave, i think it's time to close the door to these cretin trolls.

Anonymous said...

3:50 - I see you speak with authority from a country that knows it doesn't so live in a free one! Thanks for the message, fellow "twit" (aka Idiot Yank!)

Anonymous said...

To account for every possible way a phrase maybe found offensive is not only impossible but a hindrance to free speech, expression and even thought. George Orwell

Welcome to 1984