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 among those books complained about (the complaint was rejected), as was “Flatpack Feminism”, and for some reason,… Continue reading FOI: Censorship of Publications Board
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… Continue reading Careful what you wish for
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… Continue reading The Public Interest
‘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… Continue reading ‘Outrage against religion and public morality’
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science minister began by defending the gig as a favour to a friend, then the story went away when the invitation was withdrawn.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… Continue reading News talk
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,… Continue reading In the beginning was the word
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… Continue reading Hairetikos
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… Continue reading Failure to communicate
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,… Continue reading Free Speech or Worthy Speech?
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… Continue reading Streisand Effect