Who Watches the Watchmen?


The supercilious, po-faced “actor” Hugh John Mungo (yes, that really is his name) Grant is still trying to curtail press freedom.

As poster chap for the Hacked Off organization, the charmingly charmless Mr Grant has already given his backing to one illiberal campaign to legislate against the free media. Hacked Off has written, with the help of “experts” no less, a draft proposal, the Media Freedom and Regulatory Standards Bill to, “Protect the freedom and independence of the media and to provide for the process and effect of recognition of voluntary media regulators.” Sounds good, eh?

To my untrained eye this draft is law-making at its finest; it contains all the right ingredients: repetitious, ill-defined terms and the use of words in combinations which are  empty of any meaning. I’m certain some geezer in an itchy wig could make a killing sifting through that little lot; genius!

The highlight of the draft Bill has to be this piece of accidental self-parody:

In deciding whether to certify a body the Recognition Commission must consider, in particular, whether the body has—

(a)   sufficient guarantees of independence, including suitable independent, fair and transparent procedures for appointments and funding,…

Well, as long as the “Recognition Commission” recognizes that the “body” it appoints is guaranteed to be sufficiently and independently independent and suitably transparent, in a fair way mind you, then nothing could go wrong; right?

Hugh’s quixotic attempts to regulate the press have also seen him ally himself to the European Initiative for Media Pluralism which calls for, or “demands” in its own words:

a) effective legislation to avoid concretration [sic] of ownership in the media and advertisement sectors.

b) guaranteed independence of supervisory bodies from political power.

c) definition of conflict of interests to avoid media moguls occupying high political office.

d) clearer European monitoring systems to check up regularly the health and independence of the media in member states.

This week, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, became a signatory to its demands, which should tell us all we need to know. Here is Martin Schulz expressing his love of the free media by “condemning the content and distribution” of films which criticize Islam:

Freedom indeed!

So, I’ve got a simple question for Hugh Grant: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, Hugh old bean?

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