Friday, February 22, 2013

An answer to Charlie Charters

I should be able to answer this question by making a comment on another blog, but just like Old Croz, neither Grubby Davis nor David Robie allow me to post comments on their blogs. Robie never has. Grubby and Croz started blocking me over the holidays after I began out-pointing them. I know what they will say. I also now moderate comments, but that is only to prevent Gwubby from posting anonymous defamation. Please feel free to post a comment and if it's not illegal I'll put it up. Please, somebody make a comment. Anybody.

Charlie Charters asks a question I can answer. Why was the Fiji Sun not taken to court for making numerous errors in a story, while the Times was fined $300,000 for an inadvertent publication? The answer is that it's not illegal to make mistakes, even several in one story. It is contempt to scandalise the court by publicly suggesting it might be corrupt, as several have done recently in Fiji. The courts are the highest level of authority in a democratic society. Undermining public confidence in them renders them moot. My theory is that this is another aspect the regime wishes to emulate of the control model in Singapore, where I spent three years. There, a compliant judiciary is used by the PAP as a weapon.

The Times is a serial contemnor after a 2009 conviction, for which it was fined $100,000.  The A-G was asking for a $500,000 fine, so it is a sawoff. The Times also aggravated the latest offence, which was committed in November 2011. I remember seeing that picture in the Times last June of Tai Nicholas making a $25,000 donation to the PM's flood relief fund. Juxtaposed as it was next to a story about his contempt, it left this reader wondering if the one would somehow ameliorate the other. More than a failure of journalism, however, what happened was a failure of management to successfully implement any systems to guard against such things after its 2009 conviction. And of course it was a massive failure of journalism. Just imagine, no one even read the whole story. No one. Another question is whether it mattered. If they had read it, would they have flagged it as possible contempt?

So I hope I answered that one forya, Charlie. Prolly more than you wanted. I have no answer for your other fine points, however. Feel free to leave me a comment. Please!

1 comment:

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