Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lib Dems to censor their own press office?

The latest splurge of shite from the Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe has been sent to me by a poor journalist of mine who thought he had assigned them to the spam folder. The content was rather surprising to both of us.

Today a cross-party alliance of MEPs has presented proposals for legislation on A European Global Online Freedom Act (EU GOFA), along the lines of the American Global Online Freedom Act (GOFA) in order to ensure the global freedom on the internet. The EU GOFA is supported by human rights organizations Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House...
The 19 page legislative draft proposal contains provisions on:
* Minimum corporate standards for European Internet business operating in authoritarian states.
* Annual designation of Internet restricting countries.
* Establishment of the 'Office of Global Internet Freedom' (OGIF) as part of the European External Action Service.
* Statement that it is EU policy to promote global free speech on the internet and the global free flow of information.
* Designation of 20 million euros for the development and distribution of anti-censorship tools and services.
* Rules for European business with content-hosting services in order to create more transparency.
* Treatment of internet censorship as an international barrier to trade.
* Export controls and a human rights impact assessments for exports to internet restricting countries.

For those of you who aren't intimate with the groups in the European Parliament, ALDE is lead by none other than Graham Watson MEP who 'represents' voters in the South West foolish enough to vote Lib Dem.

Is this the self same Watson who, only a few years ago, took the lead in trying to control the media output surrounding the European Parliament? As reported by the Sprout magazine at the time (2005), a confidential memo 'shows that even in the European Parliament officials have some ideas about press control that would make even RObert Mugabe blush.'

Parliament wanted a 'code of conduct' for journalists, a blue print to clarify what areas of filming and photography are permitted and not permitted' and sanctions for members of the press who do not shove their heads up MEPs arses with sufficient frequency.

This is what emerged from the minutes, but reports afterwards found that some MEPs were rather keen on banning journalists altogether!

The MEP from whose these words spouted were, according to reports from inside, was none other than chief 'Liberal Democrat' himself Graham Watson MEP.

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