posts about or somewhat related to ‘England’

To Be or Not To Be: Scotland Has a Decision to Make
Image: Map of countries that have declared independence from the United Kingdom, via Global Post. Select to embiggen.

To Be or Not To Be: Scotland Has a Decision to Make

Image: Map of countries that have declared independence from the United Kingdom, via Global Post. Select to embiggen.

Guardian journalists could face criminal charges over Edward Snowden leaks →

Via The Telegraph:

Employees of The Guardian newspaper could face criminal charges over their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has signalled.

Cressida Dick, an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, confirmed for the first time that detectives were examining whether staff at the newspaper had committed an offence.

She also told MPs that her officers are looking at potential breaches of a specific anti-terrorism law which makes it unlawful to communicate information about British intelligence agents. The offence carries up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Rationale? Exactly what you’d think: “[L]ast month Sir John Sawers, the MI6 chief, said terrorists were ‘rubbing their hands with glee’ at the Snowden disclosures.”

Tweeting is kind of an act of resistance and defiance, a way of shouting to the sometimes disinterested world that you’re stubborn, proud, and not giving in as everywhere else is turned into a clone of everywhere else.

@herdyshepherd1, The Atlantic. Why This Shepherd Loves Twitter.

A lovely piece about global connectivity from an anonymous British sheep herder.

They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate. They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK… It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

David Miranda, in an interview with The Guardian about his nine-hour detention at Heathrow Airport under England’s Schedule Seven of its Terrorism Act “which allows officers to stop, search and question individuals at airports, ports and border areas.”

Miranda is the partner of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA surveillance story. Miranda tells The Guardian that “he was not allowed to call [Greenwald], who is a qualified lawyer in the US, nor was he given an interpreter, despite being promised one because he felt uncomfortable speaking in a second language… His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items.”

Miranda was passing through England from Berlin where he had met Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker also working on the NSA leaks. He says the drives he carried contained “materials” being passed between Poitras and Greenwald. 

This isn’t a story about whether one agrees with Edward Snowden’s decision to leak classified National Security Agency documents, or what one thinks of Glenn Greenwald’s journalism. It is a story about whether sweeping powers passed with the understanding they’d be used against terrorists will henceforth be marshaled against anyone Western governments want to target, even if there is zero chance that they are associated with Al Qaeda or its affiliates. This is a story about whether national security journalism is already being treated as terrorism so that government officials can bring more powerful tools to bear against leaks of classified information. And it’s a story about the impropriety of targeting the loved ones of journalists in adversarial relationships with the government in order to intimidate them or others.

Former Murdoch Aides to Be Charged With Bribing Defense Ministry Official →

Andy Coulson, who edited The News of the World before becoming Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications, and Rebekah Brooks, former editor of The Sun before becoming chief executive of News International, will be charged with bribing a Defense Ministry Official.

Via the New York Times

Under a new bribery act passed by Parliament in 2010, described by British legal experts as one of the toughest statutes of its kind anywhere, the maximum penalty for bribing a public official is 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine, but the statute also provides for much lesser penalties.

The accusations seem certain to precipitate a new debate about the practice known in Britain as “checkbook journalism,” common for many years, under which editors, reporters and investigators have paid sources clandestinely for information, or provided them with other benefits. A defense often made of the practice has been that the information obtained in this way serves the public interest, particularly when a resulting article exposes waste or dishonesty in public office…

…Altogether, more than 50 former newspaper executives, lawyers, editors, reporters and investigators have been arrested and questioned in extensive police inquiries.

Twitter is not just a closed coffee shop among friends. It goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility for it. It is not a place where you can gossip and say things with impunity, and we are about to demonstrate that.

Andrew Reid, lawyer for Former Tory Party treasurer Alistair McAlpine, to the Daily Mirror. Tweet revenge: Tory to sue 10,000 Twitter users who branded him a paedo.

The News: Earlier this month the BBC’s Newsnight aired a program about an unresolved sex abuse scandal that took place in UK children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s. In it, Newsnight linked an unnamed Conservative Party member to the crimes but, oddly, never actually named him.

Soon, however, Twitter users were identifying Alistair McAlpine as the unnamed politician. Which he isn’t, or wasn’t, as the case may be.

In the aftermath, the BBC’s director general George Entwistle resigned and two BBC news executives, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell have “stepped aside.”

Now, McAlpine intends to sue those who tweeted and/or retweeted the allegations. The Daily Mirror reports that 10,000 people have been identified.

Let the Olympics Begin… Just Make Sure Street Artists are Kept at Bay
Via the Guardian:

When Adidas wanted to create a mural to illustrate the launch of its new football boot last year, it turned to “professional graffiti artist” Darren Cullen for help. Cullen, 38, runs a firm providing spraycan artwork and branding to major international companies, and says he has never painted illegally on a wall or train.
But despite having worked with one of the Games’s major sponsors, on Tuesday Cullen was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) and barred from coming within a mile of any Olympic venue, as part of a pre-emptive sweep against a number of alleged graffiti artists before the Olympics.
BTP confirmed that four men from Kent, London and Surrey, aged between 18 and 38, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, two of whom were also further arrested on suspicion of incitement to commit criminal damage.
They were bailed until November under strict conditions restricting their access to rail, tube and tram transport, preventing them from owning spray paint or marker pens, and ordering them not to go near any Olympic venue in London or elsewhere. None has been charged.

Image: Pole Vaulting, via Banksy.

Let the Olympics Begin… Just Make Sure Street Artists are Kept at Bay

Via the Guardian:

When Adidas wanted to create a mural to illustrate the launch of its new football boot last year, it turned to “professional graffiti artist” Darren Cullen for help. Cullen, 38, runs a firm providing spraycan artwork and branding to major international companies, and says he has never painted illegally on a wall or train.

But despite having worked with one of the Games’s major sponsors, on Tuesday Cullen was arrested by British Transport Police (BTP) and barred from coming within a mile of any Olympic venue, as part of a pre-emptive sweep against a number of alleged graffiti artists before the Olympics.

BTP confirmed that four men from Kent, London and Surrey, aged between 18 and 38, had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, two of whom were also further arrested on suspicion of incitement to commit criminal damage.

They were bailed until November under strict conditions restricting their access to rail, tube and tram transport, preventing them from owning spray paint or marker pens, and ordering them not to go near any Olympic venue in London or elsewhere. None has been charged.

Image: Pole Vaulting, via Banksy.

How Phone Hacking Indictments are Changing British Journalism →

With the recent indictments of top editors at News Corporation’s News of the World, analysts say the company will eventually pay out over a billion dollars in fines and lawsuits related to the phone hacking scandal.

The effect on British newspapers will be long lasting.

Via the New York Times:

What is becoming clear, media analysts say, is that the push-the-legal-limits newsroom culture that has gone untrammeled for years at the British tabloids and has even found its way into some of the country’s upmarket broadsheets, including Mr. Murdoch’s Times and Sunday Times, could be a casualty of a new culture of caution…

…Already, some who work at British newspapers say, the scandal has had a chilling effect on newsrooms, with editors, reporters and their proprietors less eager to trumpet splashy exposes that might involve, or be perceived to involve, less than ethical standards of news gathering…

One tabloid journalist, who insisted on anonymity because of concern for his job, lamented what he called the end of the “anything goes” era. “Before, it was a case of ‘Don’t tell me how you get it, just get it,’ ” he said. “Now things are looked at differently.”…

…Media critics say the legacy of the “yellow journalism” of turn-of-the-20th-century America has migrated in recent decades to Fleet Street, the traditional home in London of many of Britain’s most powerful papers. Many editors and reporters nurtured in that culture have migrated abroad, some of them to Murdoch-owned papers in America, Australia and elsewhere, taking their no-holds-barred attitudes with them.

Some critics say Mr. Murdoch’s London tabloids, The Sun and The News of the World, and rivals here that compete for the same scoop-hungry readership of millions, have set a grim and degrading standard of journalism that will not be missed.

Interestingly, some media analysts from both the left and right urge caution as England reviews its journalism culture and regulations.

They fear that overaggressive prosecutions on journalism practices will creep their way up the publishing hierarchy, affecting not just the tabloids behind the phone hacking and checkbook journalism (ie, paying sources for scoops) scandals, but also the aggressive — and legitimate — journalism practiced by more staid broadsheets.

New York Times, Phone-Hacking Charges Seen as Chill on British Journalism.

British Panel: Murdoch Not Fit to Run News Corp

Via the New York Times:

In a damning report after months of investigation into the hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, a British parliamentary panel concluded on Tuesday that Mr. Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run a huge international company.

The startling conclusion about the world’s most influential media tycoon went much further in criticizing Mr. Murdoch than had been expected from Parliament’s select committee on culture, media and sport, which has conducted several inquiries into press standards, the most recent starting last year.

Via the BBC:

After initially claiming that malpractice was limited to one “rogue” reporter at the News of the World, News International has now settled dozens of civil cases admitting liability for hacking between 2001 and 2006.

More than 6,000 possible victims have been identified and the police have so far made a number of arrests in connection with an investigation reopened in January 2011 - although no charges have yet been brought.

Via the Guardian:

Rupert Murdoch, the document said, “did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking” and “turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications”.

The committee concluded that the culture of the company’s newspapers “permeated from the top” and “speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International”.

That prompted the MPs’ report to say: “We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of major international company.”

Daily Mail made 1,728 potentially illegal requests to private detective →

Just when the Daily Mail gets some longread love from the New Yorker, the Guardian reports that Daily Mail journalists paid private investigators about $227,000 to “unearth phone numbers and addresses of public figures over a three-year period, including personal details of the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Middleton.”

Via the Guardian:

The tabloid demanded the private information between 2000 and 2003 from Steve Whittamore – whose targets for a range of newspapers included the union leader Bob Crow, the family of the murder victim Holly Wells, members of the England football team and the singer Charlotte Church. The Daily Mail made the most requests, with its sister title the Mail on Sunday spending an estimated £62,000 on 578 requests for information. The Sunday title’s figure was also roughly double the number of requests counted by the information commissioner in a report in 2006…

…Obtaining such personal information is a breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act, although there is a public interest defence. If anybody working in the public sector was paid money to supply information illegally, it could amount to an offence under the more serious 1906 Prevention of Corruption Act, for which there is no public interest defence. Whittamore himself pleaded guilty to breaches of the Data Protection Act in 2005 and received a two-year conditional discharge.

How the Daily Mail Got its Groove On →

The Daily Mail is England’s most popular paper and its Web site recently surpassed the New York Times’ as the world’s most visited.

Last week it won nine British Press Awards.

In a longread, the New Yorker explorers England’s media landscape and the Mail’s present, past and future.

Via the New Yorker:

The Mail’s closest analogue in the American media is perhaps Fox News. In Britain, unlike in the United States, television tends to be a dignified affair, while print is berserk and shouty. The Mail is like Fox in the sense that it speaks to, and for, the married, car-driving, homeowning, conservative-voting suburbanite, but it is unlike Fox in that it is not slavishly approving of any political party. One editor told me, “The paper’s defining ideology is that Britain has gone to the dogs.” Nor is the Mail easy to resist. Last year, its lawyers shut down a proxy site that allowed liberals to browse Mail Online without bumping up its traffic.

The Mail presents itself as the defender of traditional British values, the voice of an overlooked majority whose opinions inconvenience the agendas of metropolitan élites. To its detractors, it is the Hate Mail, goading the worst curtain-twitching instincts of an island nation, or the Daily Fail, fuelling paranoia about everything from immigration to skin conditions. (“WITHIN A DAY OF HIS ECZEMA BEING INFECTED, MARC WAS DEAD,” a recent headline warned.) A Briton’s view of the Mail is a totemic indicator of his sociopolitical orientation, the dinner-party signal for where he stands on a host of other matters. In 2010, a bearded, guitar-strumming band called Dan & Dan had a YouTube hit with “The Daily Mail Song,” which, so far, has been viewed more than 1.3 million times. “Bring back capital punishment for pedophiles / Photo feature on schoolgirl skirt styles / Binge Britain! Single Mums! / Pensioners! Hoodie Scum!” Dan sings. “It’s absolutely true because I read it in the Daily Mail.” The Mail is less a parody of itself than a parody of the parody, its rectitudinousness cancelling out others’ ridicule to render a middlebrow juggernaut that can slay knights and sway Prime Ministers.

News Scandals are Theatrical →

Via Journalism.co.uk:

The “current crisis” engulfing UK newspaper journalism has inspired a new fast-turnaround theatre production that will launch in Glasgow at the end of April.

The National Theatre of Scotland and the London Review of Books have teamed up to produce Enquirer, which will be performed in an empty floor of an office block in Glasgow’s digital media quarter at Pacific Quay, before moving to London later in the year.

It is based on more than 50 interviews with people working in the newspaper industry - from reporters to printers and newsagents - conducted by journalists Paul Flynn, Deborah Orr and Ruth Wishart.

The transcripts from the interviews will be edited into a script, and the project will be updated throughout the rehearsal and performance period to reflect the current state of events in the phone hacking story and the Leveson inquiry.

If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.
And we thought the $150,000 per infringement fine under US copyright law was steep.
Via Ars Technica:

The 70,000 daily visitors to popular music site RnBXclusive.com were met with a purposely terrifying message on Tuesday and part of Wednesday. The UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) took the site down, arrested its operator, and threw up a splash page that warned downloaders of “up to 10 years imprisonment.” Thought statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement in the US were ludicrous? SOCA warns that downloaders from the site could face an “unlimited fine under UK law.”…
…While RnBxclusive.com might have been a hive a scum and villainy, SOCA agents hardly give the impression of acting as neutral agents of justice. The takedown was clearly pushed by the recording industry, which in itself is fine; all sorts of private parties complain to police when laws have been broken. But the SOCA warning page on RnBxclusive.com went well beyond a mere legal statement and warning.
"As a result of illegal downloads young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged," it said. "If you have illegally downloaded music you will have damaged the future of the music industry."

Random aside: The Serious Organized Crime Agency? That’s a Monty Python skit waiting to happen.

If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.

And we thought the $150,000 per infringement fine under US copyright law was steep.

Via Ars Technica:

The 70,000 daily visitors to popular music site RnBXclusive.com were met with a purposely terrifying message on Tuesday and part of Wednesday. The UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) took the site down, arrested its operator, and threw up a splash page that warned downloaders of “up to 10 years imprisonment.” Thought statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement in the US were ludicrous? SOCA warns that downloaders from the site could face an “unlimited fine under UK law.”…

…While RnBxclusive.com might have been a hive a scum and villainy, SOCA agents hardly give the impression of acting as neutral agents of justice. The takedown was clearly pushed by the recording industry, which in itself is fine; all sorts of private parties complain to police when laws have been broken. But the SOCA warning page on RnBxclusive.com went well beyond a mere legal statement and warning.

"As a result of illegal downloads young, emerging artists may have had their careers damaged," it said. "If you have illegally downloaded music you will have damaged the future of the music industry."

Random aside: The Serious Organized Crime Agency? That’s a Monty Python skit waiting to happen.