Tag Archives: censorship

FOI: Censorship of Publications Board

Following a random conversation on Twiter in September 2018, I submitted a Freedom o Information request for the minutes of meetings of the Censorship of Publications Board between 2011 and the end of 2017. Alan Shatter’s Laura (“”) was complained about (the complaint was rejected) was among those books complained about, as was “Flatpack Feminism”, and for some reason, a book about St Anthony of Padua. So now, I’m curious… Read Article →

Careful what you wish for

It’s been a busy ten days since Rory O’Neill appeared on the Saturday Show. John Waters took offence, as did several members of the Iona Institute, and the online community (of not the dead tree press) has followed each twist and turn in the story. There’s even been some light entertainment, with the @ionawatch twitter account immediately followed by the @ionawatwatch account. And yesterday, Una Mullally wrote about the “need… Read Article →

The Public Interest

“Taking photographs of individuals in private places without their consent is not acceptable, unless justified by the public interest.” I’ve never been a huge fan of the Press Council. It was set up as the lesser of two evils, an industry-funded self-regulator, the greater evil being a state-sponsored regulator. Threats of new privacy laws, and the incentive of an easing in Ireland’s harsh libel regime, led to its foundation. The… Read Article →

‘Outrage against religion and public morality’

The story was a straightforward piece of reporting. John McAnulty, a haulier and grain dealer with an alleged involvement in smuggling, was abducted and killed by the IRA, suspected of giving information to police. The Sunday World article outlined what was known about his life and death, including the identities of the IRA squad behind his abduction and murder. It’s relevant to the Smithwick tribunal for two reasons: McAnulty was… Read Article →

News talk

Yesterday, the news cycle covered Conor Lenihan’s proposed launch of a book on creationism. The science minister began by defending the gig as a favour to a friend, then the story went away when the invitation was withdrawn. This afternoon Sean Moncrieff interviewed the author, John J May. Among the tweets in response to the show were some of mine, one of which prompted Moncrieff to accuse me of censorship…. Read Article →

In the beginning was the word

There was a time when book burning mattered. Once upon a time, religions enforced dictates by burning books containing the wrong opinions. To be orthodox was, literally, to hold the right opinion. And just in case that didn’t work, heretics were burned at the stake for good measure. At the end of the medieval era, things got a bit trickier. Laborious copying by hand was replaced by mechanical printing, so… Read Article →

Hairetikos

So I’ve got some unleavened bread here. To some people, it’s just a piece of flour, mixed with water and heated. And to some people, it’s the body of a god, sacred beyond imagining. Plain unraised bread, made without yeast or other raising agent, is ‘unleavened’. A few years ago, a Florida student called Webster Cook put a piece of unleavened bread in his pocket. Churchgoers confronted Webster to get… Read Article →

Failure to communicate

I attended a seminar on the chilling effects of libel this evening, hosted by the Science Gallery in TCD. Simon Singh spoke about his successful fight against the British Chiropractic Association, and Peter Wilmshurst spoke of his ongoing battle with NMT Medical, a US medical devices maker. Two lawyers also addressed the gathering. After a short break, a question and answer session followed. One contributor asked what could be done… Read Article →

Free Speech or Worthy Speech?

There’s a meme going round, and I’m not sure what to make of it. One recent example forms the lead in to an article in Forth, and goes as follows: “We have to defend Lars Vilks because free speech matters but he’s a fool and his alleged would-be assassins arrested in Ireland are bumbling idiots, says Finbar Rosato in Sweden.” Heres another quote from the article along the same lines:… Read Article →

Streisand Effect

The Guardian reports it has been gagged from reporting parliament. It cannot report that a particular question was asked of a minister, or who asked the question, what the question is, which minister might answer it, or where the question can be found. Nor is it allowed to say why it can’t tell you those things, or who says it can’t tell you. What it can say is the Commons… Read Article →