Blogs and other internet sites should be covered by a voluntary code of practice similar to that for newspapers in the UK, a conference has been told.
Press Complaints Commission director Tim Toulmin said he opposed government regulation of the internet, saying it should a place "in which views bloom".
But unless there was a voluntary code of conduct there would be no form of redress for people angered at content.
Er... Apart from those pesky libel laws, of course. And, of course, most bloggers would probably take down any offensive or derogatory material that someone threatened legal action over, I would imagine.
So if The Kitchen disappears in its entirety one day, then you'll know what;s happened. Let's face it, if I went through removing all of the offensive bits, all you'd be left with is...
... your humble Devil...
... and I'd probably have to take that down under the Trade Descriptions Act since I'm not really that humble. Nor am I the Devil.
But, until then, fuck 'em.
He spoke during a session on free speech at a London race conference.
Mr Toulmin described the phrases "free speech" and "free press" as relative terms because views expressed on the internet are still governed by laws such as libel and data protection.
Yes, Mr Toulmin—or can I call you Mr MiniTool?—that's a very good point. And so the need for a voluntary code of conduct, of the sort that the newspapers ignore every single fucking day is... Well, what, precisely?
The Press Complaints Commission enforces a code of practice for the UK newspaper and magazine industry, covering accuracy, discrimination and intrusion, amongst other things.
Members of the public unhappy with coverage can take their complaints to the commission.
Mr Toulmin said this "self-imposed regulation" did offer people a means to complain about coverage, although it "was not the answer to all your problems".
No, it's not. That's because the newspaper industry has realised that printing pictures of a 13 year old Princess Eugenie in a wet bathing costume, taken with a telephoto lens from a nearby boat, is enough to get the punters to give cash to the various proprietors.
Complaints can already be made about online versions of newspapers and magazines which already subscribe to the PCC code.
But apart from those sites, generally on the internet "there are no professional standards, there is no means of redress", Mr Toulmin said.
Look, Mr MiniTool, there are plenty of professional standards out here. We scummy bloggers have this horrible habit of linking directly to our sources and to the data that we quote, which is rather more than many newspapers—especially, and for obvious reasons, the print editions—which, admittedly, can be a little embarrassing for those who are trying to hide things away.
We bloggers regulate ourselves. If a blogger has misrepresented the facts, he or she is veru often taken to task by their own commenters as well as by other bloggers. We nasty, rumour-mongering bloggers sink or swim by our credibility which is, in turn, determined by our reliability on evidence and interpretation. Not something that one can say about, say, Polly Toynbee; why else would there be a blog solely dedicated to exploding her lies and manipulation?
And means of redress? Well, in most cases an email will suffice.
There is something of a difference between the press and bloggers, and it is this: the press have massive financial backing. If someone complains to the MSM, the MSM can afford to ignore them. Even a libel case will not, in most cases, really damage a newpaper.
Bloggers don't have those kind of resources. In most cases, the person who complains about what a blogger has written will have far more resources and money that the blogger. In this case, a voluntary code really is not needed.
He said a voluntary code of practice would allow content to be checked without government involvement, stressing: "We're not in favour of regulating the internet. The flow of information should not be regulated by any government."
Mr Toolface said: "We are not infavour of regulating the internet, but we are."
Former Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who chaired the session organised by the Commission for Racial Equality, said blogs were "perceived as a positive development" but added that "some of the most offensive stuff" comes from them.
From a man who used to write pornographic stories for Forum magazine, I find it difficult to imagine that Mr Campbell finds anything "offensive". But, just for the record, I find Campbell's face, attitude and his key role in the subversion of the media and electorate into the service of his shitty, fucking masters pretty fucking offensive. Fuck you, Campbell, you pin-pricked, stinking, piece of dogshit.
But having said that, I will sign up to a voluntary code. It is my own code and here it is:
- I will declare an interest where I believe it to be even tangentially relevant if I feel that it is something that my readers are unaware of, e.g. my membership of UKIP.
- I will not write about my employment except where it is relevant and where permission has been sought from my employers. This condition is also bound by 1).
- I will continue to rant and rave—using as many swearwords and deeply umpleasant mental images as I deem to be amusing—against our political masters until they get the fucking message that they cannot continue to take our money whilst fucking us roughly up the arse.
- "Cunt" is one of the oldest words in our fine language and thus I shall continue to call a cunt a cunt and ever more shall do so.
- Fuck you all, you pondlife, politico shitbags.
Okey dokey; consider that voluntary code signed.