Reading the Times newspaper yesterday, I was somewhat gobsmacked to see Sean O’Neill, the paper’s chief reporter, complaining that “The UK has no constitutional protection for a free press and no real cap on costs for libel actions.” These two facts formed the centrepiece of his argument that abuse of British courts is killing free speech. But, after years of campaigning against these protections, is the Times now regretting its success?
In January of this year, Covid-19’s second wave was getting going. The vaccine program was just starting. And recently retired doctors wanted to return to work in order to help out. Famously, the reaction of the bureaucrats at the Department of health was to provide applicants with a tidal wave of online modules to complete. The Times reported one doctor complaining that she was only a quarter of the way through after six hours of form-filling.
Brett Kavanaugh, the current presidential nominee for the US Supreme Court, faces a series of allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his youth. He denies them all. He denies them emphatically. But he denies them in a manner which raises questions about his suitability for senior judicial office, let alone the highest judicial office in the land.Read more
A couple of matters caught my attention this morning, from the world of journalism and coffee shops.Read more
I was disappointed to read recently that the UK has dropped to 40th place in the World Press Freedom Index. Among the 39 countries which are said to offer the press greater freedom than the UK are South Africa, Surinam and Namibia, according to the ranking body Reporters Sans Frontieres. But then I noticed that the UK’s ranking was three places ahead of the USA which guarantees freedom of the press under its constitution. What’s going on here?Read more