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  • Britain Tommy Robinson goes to jail for free speech violation

    It’s illegal for the British press to report on the case...kinda Soviet Russia like.

    https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/25/tommy...peace-7579280/
    Livin the dream

  • #2
    Woah, woah, woah.

    Let's take our tinfoil hats off for a second and clarify the sensationalized Breitbart-esque clickbait thread title here.

    Since 1925, the UK has had legal limits to what the media can report on cases. The idea of such laws is to protect not only the integrity of the court system, but also the rights of the accused. The British do not want to have trials become media fiascos where jurors are unduly influenced by media coverage. This is totally and completely different from Soviet-style state media reporting. I am offering no personal opinion of the law here, just clarifying what it is and the reason for it.

    Tommy Robinson is a well-known right wing nutjob who has been arrested numerous times for not only contempt of court (violating the above mentioned laws), but also inciting violence. He has a known track record of instigating brawls and other forms of non-peaceful protests.

    Further, this is in no way, shape, or form "free speech violation" because this is a British issue where US free speech rights are not applicable.

    Lastly, I come onto the ShockerNet political threads from time to time--not often--in full knowledge that about 60-80% of the posters are conservative to very conservative in their views. So I expect quite a bit of right wing stuff on here. But I don't expect Facebook-like "fake news" with clearly deceptive thread titles and misleading information. I get enough of that on Facebook. I hope we can leave it there.
    "It's amazing to watch Ron slide into that open area, Fred will find him and it's straight cash homie."--HCGM

    Comment


    • ShockingButTrue
      ShockingButTrue commented
      Editing a comment
      For once we agree. What kind of dummy would get their news from facebook?
      Last edited by ShockingButTrue; May 29th, 2018, 08:58 PM.

    • Rocky Mountain Shock
      Editing a comment
      Sadly, a lot of my friends--especially conservative ones (I say that not to judge my friends, but to indicate the amount of fake news propagated by conservative outlets). I've had to actually fact check posts and post content from Politifact and other non-biased sources, and I have more than once reported to Facebook fake news that have been shared by friends (I'm surprised how quickly it gets removed). Yes, I'm that guy. But there's so much misleading and nonfactual information out there I understand how people can get confused. Social media is a nightmare these days.

  • #3
    What part of "violation" is misleading?

    Comment


    • Rocky Mountain Shock
      Editing a comment
      "Violation" is not misleading. "Free speech" is misleading. Robinson was not violating free speech laws. He was violating contempt of court laws.

  • #4
    Originally posted by Rocky Mountain Shock View Post
    Woah, woah, woah.

    Let's take our tinfoil hats off for a second and clarify the sensationalized Breitbart-esque clickbait thread title here.

    Since 1925, the UK has had legal limits to what the media can report on cases. The idea of such laws is to protect not only the integrity of the court system, but also the rights of the accused. The British do not want to have trials become media fiascos where jurors are unduly influenced by media coverage. This is totally and completely different from Soviet-style state media reporting. I am offering no personal opinion of the law here, just clarifying what it is and the reason for it.

    Tommy Robinson is a well-known right wing nutjob who has been arrested numerous times for not only contempt of court (violating the above mentioned laws), but also inciting violence. He has a known track record of instigating brawls and other forms of non-peaceful protests.

    Further, this is in no way, shape, or form "free speech violation" because this is a British issue where US free speech rights are not applicable.

    Lastly, I come onto the ShockerNet political threads from time to time--not often--in full knowledge that about 60-80% of the posters are conservative to very conservative in their views. So I expect quite a bit of right wing stuff on here. But I don't expect Facebook-like "fake news" with clearly deceptive thread titles and misleading information. I get enough of that on Facebook. I hope we can leave it there.
    My title was factual. He was arrested for violating speech laws. He is being punished for breaking an actual British law, and is likely guilty. I attached a link to a non-politicized article, and stated factual information about the crime and mentioned the court gag order (which has since been lifted, but only after the gov removed multiple articles from the internet). Not sure what you consider to be “tinfoil hat” about any of that. Please explain.

    The comment, “kinda Soviet Russia like”, is obviously my opinion, but I think the circumstance of the arrest and the following gag order offer reasonable evidence to make it less than outlandish. Yes, Britain has laws to stop from persuading the jurors...so does the US, but they don’t involve silencing the press.

    Robinson is a “controversial” figure. He spent time in prison for loan fraud. He was also previously arrested for a similar offense, filming outside a courtroom, and was given a suspended sentence. He is possibly Islamophobic, but I’m not aware any violence that he has instigated (except maybe against himself), any non-peaceful protests, or any associated arrests for actual violence. Please provide links so I can be better informed.
    Livin the dream

    Comment


    • #5
      Originally posted by wufan View Post

      Yes, Britain has laws to stop from persuading the jurors...so does the US, but they don’t involve silencing the press.
      First and foremost, I think we all agree the UK has less protection for free speech than the US. I believe the US system is better, and I think most on here would agree. That said, I do not believe the British system is soviet-esque, and I don't think it's all that crazy of system.

      Our system provides free speech rights and the right to a fair trial. It sounds as if the newspapers can publish whatever they want to after the trial, so it's just a question before the trial. The British system then has said the right to a fair trial trumps any free speech rights in that limited instance. It would not be Soviet Russia like to value a fair trial over free speech. Just like it is not Soviet Russia-like to value national security over free speech, even though that has even less to do with our constitutional rights. We are not under an oppressive regime just because it is a crime to share certain government secrets with the public. Sharing those secrets could harm someone else's livelihood, it could harm our country's interests, or whatever. We have agreed as a country that it is a crime to share those secrets before a certain amount of time has passed.

      Britain has done the same thing but the livelihood in question is the livelihood of a criminal defendant. Our right to free speech is not absolute. The US system has limitations on the right. The British system has just said one of the limitations is to protect another right (a right which we also value in the US).

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by wufan View Post

        My title was factual. He was arrested for violating speech laws. He is being punished for breaking an actual British law, and is likely guilty. I attached a link to a non-politicized article, and stated factual information about the crime and mentioned the court gag order (which has since been lifted, but only after the gov removed multiple articles from the internet). Not sure what you consider to be “tinfoil hat” about any of that. Please explain.

        The comment, “kinda Soviet Russia like”, is obviously my opinion, but I think the circumstance of the arrest and the following gag order offer reasonable evidence to make it less than outlandish. Yes, Britain has laws to stop from persuading the jurors...so does the US, but they don’t involve silencing the press.

        Robinson is a “controversial” figure. He spent time in prison for loan fraud. He was also previously arrested for a similar offense, filming outside a courtroom, and was given a suspended sentence. He is possibly Islamophobic, but I’m not aware any violence that he has instigated (except maybe against himself), any non-peaceful protests, or any associated arrests for actual violence. Please provide links so I can be better informed.
        No, he was not violating free speech laws. He was violating contempt of court laws. It may seem like semantics, but there's a significant difference.

        As jdshock explains above, British law values the right to a fair trial above freedom of the press and speech in this situation. Again, it is nothing even remotely similar to the Soviet Union, which controlled every aspect of media, most notably content, and did not allow anything negative about the nation or the communist party. British law only limits when something can be reported, not its content, and for a justifiable reason. Freedom of speech and the press are not absolute rights even here in the US.

        Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was arrested and convicted for leading a brawl of about 100 soccer fans in 2010. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-14278957) In 2011, he was convicted of assault at one of his own EDL rallies, although the circumstances of that incident are less clear. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-15117961) To his credit he left EDL in 2013 with the stated reason that he was concerned about the direction of the group, and in subsequent years he has backed off a little in his rhetoric against Islam. But EDL is a prime example of the dangers of nationalism, where the fear of people who think and look differently can cause violent and hateful extremism.

        I'm no expert on Robinson, but I'm well aware of him and others whose fears of people they don't understand lead them to do and say hurtful and hateful things. The US and parts of Europe are under the influence of nationalistic ideologies the likes of which the world hasn't seen since the 1930s. These are concerning times.
        "It's amazing to watch Ron slide into that open area, Fred will find him and it's straight cash homie."--HCGM

        Comment


        • #7
          That's quite a leap you just took. I thought the thread was about the constitutional suppression of free speech? No?

          Knee-jerk much?





          Nationalistic? 1930's? WTF!?!

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by jdshock View Post

            First and foremost, I think we all agree the UK has less protection for free speech than the US. I believe the US system is better, and I think most on here would agree. That said, I do not believe the British system is soviet-esque, and I don't think it's all that crazy of system.

            Our system provides free speech rights and the right to a fair trial. It sounds as if the newspapers can publish whatever they want to after the trial, so it's just a question before the trial. The British system then has said the right to a fair trial trumps any free speech rights in that limited instance. It would not be Soviet Russia like to value a fair trial over free speech. Just like it is not Soviet Russia-like to value national security over free speech, even though that has even less to do with our constitutional rights. We are not under an oppressive regime just because it is a crime to share certain government secrets with the public. Sharing those secrets could harm someone else's livelihood, it could harm our country's interests, or whatever. We have agreed as a country that it is a crime to share those secrets before a certain amount of time has passed.

            Britain has done the same thing but the livelihood in question is the livelihood of a criminal defendant. Our right to free speech is not absolute. The US system has limitations on the right. The British system has just said one of the limitations is to protect another right (a right which we also value in the US).
            The analogy with “Top Secret” clearance is a good one. Will have to consider that as I move forward.

            Here’s how it is “similar” to the Soviet regime (as briefly as I can make the logical argument):

            English policy has pushed away legal actions against Muslim immigrants. After numerous reports, this event was investigated and the accused were put on trial. Reporting on trial was outlawed. Some see this as an alliance between the state and the accused. Tommy Robinson read reports about the case (not reporting on the trial) from outside the courthouse. He is arrested and sentanced (based on reinstating a 3 month suspended sentance) immediately. Reporting the event is immediately outlawed.

            The USSR aligns with members of the communist party. After outrage from citizens, charges are brought in private. Someone reports on it and is arrested and sentanced. The media isn’t allowed to report on this action.

            Those are are the similarities I see in the two events.

            Livin the dream

            Comment


            • Rocky Mountain Shock
              Editing a comment
              I see where you're going with that, but the fact remains the British law is a temporary restraining order (for all intents and purposes), after which the independent media is free to report on it however it sees fit. The Soviets had state run media, where they approved or rejected reporting based on what might be unfavorable to the government or ruling party. To me the British law is reasonable and logical, although I do not think something similar should be adopted in the US. Another major problem in your scenario: lack of media coverage does not mean charges were brought "in private."
              Last edited by Rocky Mountain Shock; May 31st, 2018, 12:02 AM.

            • wufan
              wufan commented
              Editing a comment
              Yep! The analogy was reasonable, but not identical. I think the scenarios are similar enough as to be worrisome, however there are certain and distinct differences that separate the USSR from the UK. Also, something I learned from posting this topic is that the reporting ban is temporary. I wasn’t aware of that. That does make a significant difference (however, not so much that I would concede it to be a good idea).

              The part about charges brought in private...what would you consider it since the press wasn’t allowed to report on it? I wouldn’t call that public. As a for instance, the initial video showed that the police arrested him for “breaching the piece,” which would be a speech law. It was later let known that he was sentanced for “contempt of court.” Reporting was allowed, and the incident was now public vs private.

            • Rocky Mountain Shock
              Editing a comment
              On the public vs private aspect, I don't know about this specific case, but the public is generally allowed in a court room. I think--I may be wrong--that in British law even in a case under a gag order the press is allowed in the court room. They just cannot report on the case until the gag order is lifted. That's what makes cases like this "public." Just because the press isn't allowed to report on it right now doesn't mean it's a "private" hearing.

              It is not uncommon, at least in the US, to be arrested for a particular offense but be officially charged for something different. What the police saw was certainly something that could be considered breaching the peace, and certainly what happened here was after an examination of additional circumstances the charge was changed to a more applicable offense.

          • #9
            Originally posted by Rocky Mountain Shock View Post

            No, he was not violating free speech laws. He was violating contempt of court laws. It may seem like semantics, but there's a significant difference.

            As jdshock explains above, British law values the right to a fair trial above freedom of the press and speech in this situation. Again, it is nothing even remotely similar to the Soviet Union, which controlled every aspect of media, most notably content, and did not allow anything negative about the nation or the communist party. British law only limits when something can be reported, not its content, and for a justifiable reason. Freedom of speech and the press are not absolute rights even here in the US.

            Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was arrested and convicted for leading a brawl of about 100 soccer fans in 2010. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-suffolk-14278957) In 2011, he was convicted of assault at one of his own EDL rallies, although the circumstances of that incident are less clear. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-15117961) To his credit he left EDL in 2013 with the stated reason that he was concerned about the direction of the group, and in subsequent years he has backed off a little in his rhetoric against Islam. But EDL is a prime example of the dangers of nationalism, where the fear of people who think and look differently can cause violent and hateful extremism.

            I'm no expert on Robinson, but I'm well aware of him and others whose fears of people they don't understand lead them to do and say hurtful and hateful things. The US and parts of Europe are under the influence of nationalistic ideologies the likes of which the world hasn't seen since the 1930s. These are concerning times.
            The original charge was “Breaching the peace”. Basically, the police stated that he was making a call to violence. Not sure when it changed to contempt of court, or what that means in relationship to speech laws.

            Thank you sinceeely for the info on Tommy’s previous record. I wasn’t aware. I do not agree with his politics, nor do I believe that the British government should intervene in this sort of speech. Bad ideas should be met with better ones.

            As to your our last comments about ideologies, I agree that nationalistic ideas are bad, just as socialistic ideas are bad. The constitution was put in place to protect us from the tyranny of government. Less government is, IMO, the best way to do that.
            Livin the dream

            Comment


            • #10
              Originally posted by jdshock View Post

              First and foremost, I think we all agree the UK has less protection for free speech than the US. I believe the US system is better, and I think most on here would agree. That said, I do not believe the British system is soviet-esque, and I don't think it's all that crazy of system.

              Our system provides free speech rights and the right to a fair trial. It sounds as if the newspapers can publish whatever they want to after the trial, so it's just a question before the trial. The British system then has said the right to a fair trial trumps any free speech rights in that limited instance. It would not be Soviet Russia like to value a fair trial over free speech. Just like it is not Soviet Russia-like to value national security over free speech, even though that has even less to do with our constitutional rights. We are not under an oppressive regime just because it is a crime to share certain government secrets with the public. Sharing those secrets could harm someone else's livelihood, it could harm our country's interests, or whatever. We have agreed as a country that it is a crime to share those secrets before a certain amount of time has passed.

              Britain has done the same thing but the livelihood in question is the livelihood of a criminal defendant. Our right to free speech is not absolute. The US system has limitations on the right. The British system has just said one of the limitations is to protect another right (a right which we also value in the US).
              UK and Canada have both passed laws that dangerously limit freedom of speech by citizens and media. Anytime that a democracy limits free speech, it shows where we may be going. It used to be that liberals sided on the side of free speech (remember Skokie for example where the ACLU sided with Nazi’s who were marching through a town of Skokie, a town made of a large Jewish pop). More and more, the libs are abandoning these principles in favor of limiting speech. You see it on college campuses in America more and more. If you disagree with the speaker, just shut them down by rioting.

              Lady Justice has the scales that balances the needs of the victim and the accused. In UK, the scales seem to possibly favor the accused.

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by Shockm View Post

                UK and Canada have both passed laws that dangerously limit freedom of speech by citizens and media. Anytime that a democracy limits free speech, it shows where we may be going. It used to be that liberals sided on the side of free speech (remember Skokie for example where the ACLU sided with Nazi’s who were marching through a town of Skokie, a town made of a large Jewish pop). More and more, the libs are abandoning these principles in favor of limiting speech. You see it on college campuses in America more and more. If you disagree with the speaker, just shut them down by rioting.
                I kind of hate the argument that conservatives are now always pro-free speech and liberals are always anti-free speech. In reality, both sides favor free speech in areas that the other side doesn't. I certainly favor broader free speech than many of the new generation of liberals, and I do think that's a problem. But, for example, liberals tend to desire a much stronger establishment clause than conservatives, and I think that's an incredibly important component of the first amendment. Or just look at really politicized situations like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

                Originally posted by Shockm View Post
                Lady Justice has the scales that balances the needs of the victim and the accused. In UK, the scales seem to possibly favor the accused.
                The US system primarily looks at the needs of the accused, as it should. We should desire a system that never convicts the wrong party, even when that means some bad guys go free. That necessarily means fewer protections for the victim.

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by ShockingButTrue View Post
                  That's quite a leap you just took. I thought the thread was about the constitutional suppression of free speech? No?

                  Knee-jerk much?





                  Nationalistic? 1930's? WTF!?!
                  "It's amazing to watch Ron slide into that open area, Fred will find him and it's straight cash homie."--HCGM

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by wufan View Post

                    The original charge was “Breaching the peace”. Basically, the police stated that he was making a call to violence. Not sure when it changed to contempt of court, or what that means in relationship to speech laws.

                    Thank you sinceeely for the info on Tommy’s previous record. I wasn’t aware. I do not agree with his politics, nor do I believe that the British government should intervene in this sort of speech. Bad ideas should be met with better ones.

                    As to your our last comments about ideologies, I agree that nationalistic ideas are bad, just as socialistic ideas are bad. The constitution was put in place to protect us from the tyranny of government. Less government is, IMO, the best way to do that.
                    Here's a couple of additional articles about that particular event, one a Washington Post piece and the other a BBC article:
                    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.801d09324d7a
                    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-44287640

                    The Cliffs Notes version is that while Robinson was doing his live Facebook video, he "chased down several dark skinned men" and asked if they had their prison bags. Then he stood outside the courthouse and shouted facts about child sex trafficking. I can understand the "breaching the peace" charge. He had been arrested for such things before, and had at least one sentence suspended with a warning to not do it again. Ultimately, it was the video and his attempt to report on an ongoing trial that earned the contempt of court conviction.

                    This relates to British speech laws inasmuch as yelling fire in a crowded movie theater in the US relates to US speech laws.

                    We agree on nationalism and socialism. Neither one is good. And yes, while the Constitution protects us from the tyranny of a large government, remember that the Constitution also protects us from the tyranny of the majority. Everything in life has to have balance.
                    Last edited by Rocky Mountain Shock; May 31st, 2018, 12:05 AM. Reason: For clarity
                    "It's amazing to watch Ron slide into that open area, Fred will find him and it's straight cash homie."--HCGM

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by Shockm View Post

                      UK and Canada have both passed laws that dangerously limit freedom of speech by citizens and media. Anytime that a democracy limits free speech, it shows where we may be going. It used to be that liberals sided on the side of free speech (remember Skokie for example where the ACLU sided with Nazi’s who were marching through a town of Skokie, a town made of a large Jewish pop). More and more, the libs are abandoning these principles in favor of limiting speech. You see it on college campuses in America more and more. If you disagree with the speaker, just shut them down by rioting.

                      Lady Justice has the scales that balances the needs of the victim and the accused. In UK, the scales seem to possibly favor the accused.
                      I also don't agree that conservatives, or Republicans, have some sort of monopoly on the protection of free speech rights. I think everyone of any political ideology values the right to express themselves--especially ones that have unpopular opinions.

                      Consider what happened to the Dixie Chicks when they shared their opinion about President Bush. Consider the conservative reaction to the NFL player protests--and the new rule to force players to stand. Personally, I do not think conservatives have any moral authority to consider themselves protectors of free speech. They are just as guilty as anyone else of wanting to limit it if they don't agree with what is being said.

                      At any rate, what is frequently overlooked in this debate is that the first amendment only limits Congress' ability to make laws that restrict speech. The founding fathers left it up to society--you and me--to determine what is appropriate and what isn't. It seems to me the entire issue of free speech these days comes down to one side thinking that any speech should be acceptable to society no matter how abhorrent because someone ought to be able to "speak their mind." We seem to be losing a sense of respect for one another, a sense that just because you can say or do something doesn't necessarily mean you should say or do it. Or worse yet, we're adopting the belief that because you can say or do something then there should be no consequences for it. This concerns me, and my concern has nothing to do with the Constitution or laws.
                      "It's amazing to watch Ron slide into that open area, Fred will find him and it's straight cash homie."--HCGM

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Originally posted by Rocky Mountain Shock View Post

                        I also don't agree that conservatives, or Republicans, have some sort of monopoly on the protection of free speech rights. I think everyone of any political ideology values the right to express themselves--especially ones that have unpopular opinions.
                        i didn’t say the conservatives have a monopoly. In fact I said that liberals (ACLU especially) used to back the rights of speech of those that they disagree with (ie Skokie example). Now, they only step in if Sharpton, or NFL players want to kneel for the flag, etc. The ACLU now only support those they agree with.

                        Comment

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