Reporting Restrictions

I’ve mentioned Tommy Robinson a couple of times before. First time was a year ago, when I listened to him talking to James Delingpole. Second time was when I listened to him talking to Alex Jones, He is, I think, an English nationalist in a time when English nationalism (but not Scottish or Welsh or Irish nationalism) is strongly disapproved. Or maybe he’s just an English patriot in a time when patriotism is strongly disapproved. For we’re all supposed to be citizens of the world these days, and to be completely indifferent to where we happened to be born, or grew up, or lived all our lives.

Anyway, Tommy Robinson has been getting around. And yesterday it seems he got himself arrested and sent to prison (not for the first time).

Tommy Robinson arrested for ‘breaching the peace’ outside court during grooming trial

‘I haven’t said a word…I’ve done nothing,’ far-right figurehead pleads as he is detained by officers

Tommy Robinson has been arrested for allegedly breaching the peace outside a court during an ongoing grooming trial.

The far-right activist showed men entering Leeds Crown Court in a livestream on Facebook, where he claimed to be “reporting” on the case.

After more than an hour of broadcasting, footage showed police officers approaching to arrest him for alleged breach of the peace and incitement.

Apparently it’s all over Twitter and the social media according to Mumsnet.

So it’s all over Twitter, Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months.

At first I was glad, he’s a racist, he’s probably deserved it etc.

Then I see it’s because he was reporting on a grooming gang case & he’s been jailed because he was already on a suspended sentence for reporting on another case

There is a complete media scrub of this story as it’s been banned from being reported.

Another commenter there added:

Of course he can’t ‘report’ on ongoing cases, in case it prejudices the trial.
Its not just him, it applies to everyone, even Mumsnet will delete threads if there’s a risk it could prejudice a trial.

I suppose it makes sense for there to be reporting restrictions, if reporting might prejudice the trial. But what is ‘reporting’? As far as I can see, all he was doing was standing outside the court with a mobile phone, streaming what he saw on Facebook. In what way might that have prejudiced the trial? In what way was that a breach of the peace? Was it because the defendants, and the jury, and the judge, all had to enter the court from the street, and so run the gauntlet of people like Tommy Robinson? If so, why wasn’t everyone else on the street outside the court arrested along with him? Why weren’t the people who videoed the arrest of Tommy Robinson also arrested (watch the video here)? Weren’t they doing the exact same thing that he’d been doing?

If they really want to isolate the court, so as to prevent a mistrial, shouldn’t they bus in the defendants and the jury and the court officials in some manner that would preclude any possibility of any influence being exerted on them by people standing outside?

Are there similar reporting restrictions in other countries? During the O.J.Simpson trial, as far as I could see it was all over the news every day as the trial progressed. But the recent Las Vegas shooting seems to have been one long cover-up from start to finish (I still have no idea what happened).

I got fascinated yesterday by the live coverage of the eruption of Kilauea. I ended up watching for hours, and assembling a series of screenshots (right, click to enlarge) of it slowly growing.

It occurred to me while I was watching that we’re now getting real time coverage of events everywhere in the world, as they happen. And that if the Titanic were to have set sail from Southampton on 10 April 2012 rather than 10 April 1912, we would all have been able to follow events aboard the ship after it had struck the iceberg on a minute by minute basis, from the viewpoint of dozens of people with mobile phones, or fixed security cameras inside the ship. We could have watched it sink from one of the lifeboats. We could have even gone down with the ship, as the water closed over it.

And there would never have been any need for any movie of the event to ever be made, because we’d already have seen the definitive documentary.

Or would there have been reporting restrictions immediately slapped on it, and nobody allowed to see the disaster unfold?

About Frank Davis

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30 Responses to Reporting Restrictions

  1. If you are on a suspended sentence you know damn well that any further ‘criminal’ act will get you arrested. The original trial judge would have made himself very clear as will your legal team-or in terms even an EDLer might understand: *mockney accent* “Yer keep yer nose clean from now on, cos otherwise it’ll be ‘Go to Jail.Go directly to jail.Do Not fucking pass go’. You do anything and that’s like sticking two fingers up to the court and they come dahn on yer like a ton of heavy fings,mush”

    As Spike Milligan said: “If you persist, against my reasoning,don’t fail to add the appropriate seasoning”…and does anyone need telling which seasoning we are talking about here (it’s ‘salt’ for those not up on their 70s nonsense ditties)? A truck load of it, poured over a certain slug.

    • simplex says:

      Your agenda is showing – obviously you didn’t watch the video. TR was very careful not to repeat his earlier mistakes. Other than that, you clearly fail to grasp the implications of this arrest.

      And to Frank, Tommy is not a racist. Try and watch some of his later videos.

  2. RdM says:

    Back in ’95-96, Mt Ruapehu in NZ erupted spectacularly; the plume visible by satellite.

    This report details how some enterprising fellows set up “VolcanoCam”, with a laptop running Windows 3.11, back in 95 before the second eruption in 96.

    It’s a lot easier for CNN these days…

  3. Emily says:

    I think this is peculiarly shocking to me in the US because we don’t have restrictions on reporting like this. At least, not that I’m aware.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      This type of action–muzzling media reports–generally goes against the First Amendment principles that guide US judicial-media relations. There are however provisions for judges to issue ‘gag orders’ regarding persons involved in a case making comments to the media. In the cases, judges can confine individuals that violate their order for contempt of court. These ‘gag orders’ are controversial and always challenged by the press and media organization that they effect. defines a gag order as a “judge’s order prohibiting the attorneys and the parties to a pending lawsuit or criminal prosecution from talking to the media or the public about the case. The supposed intent is to prevent prejudice due to pre-trial publicity which would influence potential jurors.”

      This article at the Yale Law School gives a good overview of the First Amendment issues involved: “When Silence Isn’t Golden: How Gag Orders Can Evade First Amendment Protections”

  4. Tony says:

    “Was it because the defendants, and the jury, and the judge, all had to enter the court from the street, and so run the gauntlet of people like Tommy Robinson?”
    I’ve always had reservations about him but this whole case seems outrageous. I can understand that many people feel strongly about him. Understandable given the mainstream media propaganda if nothing else. But the more strongly you feel, the more important it is to be sure that justice is done.
    This is the Rebel Media’s take on the story:

    It seems there wasn’t a jury in this case and the verdict had already been declared with just the sentencing to go. So there was almost no-one to intimidate.
    As to committing a criminal act, he was arrested for a ‘breach’ of the peace. Which seems a bizzare accusation given the video evidence. But he was then convicted for ‘contempt of court’ and jailed within an hour of arrest without even being allowed to consult his lawyer. They gave him a court appointed lawyer to instead.

    • You seem unclear on English law (and I’m no way an expert, so those that are please correct me). There was no need for a jury in this case, he ALREADY been ‘juried’ and sentenced. “Breach of the peace” or whatever it is called ….’Behaviour liable to incite a breach of the peace’?….is a ‘holding charge’, an instrument that allows the police to remove people from a scene before shit gets real. It means whatever the police want it to mean,the real charge often comes later. In this case ‘contempt of court’ which doesn’t require a jury to decide upon. By ‘returning to his vomit’ (just to get all biblical) TR purposely stuck two fingers up to the courts.

      • Tony says:

        I mentioned ‘jury’, purely to point out that there wasn’t one, in the context of Frank’s question about intimidation. I wasn’t suggesting that there should have been one.

        I strongly recommend that you take a look at that video if you haven’t already seen it.

      • Roobeedoo2 says:

        Tony is talking about the trial of the grooming rape gang, as outlined in The Rebel video that you didn’t watch, Stretch.

      • Celts says:

        That and he pleaded Guilty

  5. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Tommy Robinson was stitched up simple as that. You cannot be a white English patriot. It is not allowed nor are white Englishmen allowed free speech anymore.

  6. “Tommy Robinson was stitched up simple as that”
    Hardly, he did it all in the sure knowledge that it would violate his suspended sentence. Lets be charitable and assume he felt so passionately, that he burned so brightly with righteous indignation, that he felt called to martyrdom.

  7. Clicky says:

  8. Philip Neal says:

    @jamesdelingpole and @willchamberlain on Twitter shed some light on it.

    The case against Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon (i.e. Tommy Robinson) is not to be reported until the case against T20177360 and T20187130 Akhtar and others is concluded. I.e. we are not permitted to know the names of the accused in the grooming trial (why not?) and Robinson was in contempt for revealing their identities, which triggered his existing suspended sentence.

    • Radical Rodent says:

      But had the identities of all of the groomers already been revealed in the mainstream media, hadn’t they?

      If you look at the TR video, you will see that he ensures that he stays within the law during his reporting of the event, checking and rechecking where he is allowed to be, and ensures that he always modifies his wording.

      • Joe L. says:

        But had the identities of all of the groomers already been revealed in the mainstream media, hadn’t they?

        This is an important question. If their identities had previously been revealed, then what harm could Robinson have possibly caused?

        And if their identities were to be kept secret, then surely arrangements could have been made to escort the accused in through a more private entrance in which security had set up a perimeter in such a way to prevent the public from getting any glimpse of them whatsoever. It certainly seems like Robinson was singled out (if not intentionally set up) for breaking a “law.”

        And to reiterate Philip’s question above: why is the public not permitted to know the names of the accused? They are innocent until proven guilty, are they not?

        As an American, I’m not all that familiar with UK law, but even if Robinson did break a law by revealing the identities of purported child sexual groomers (!), how does place him “in breach of the peace”? How was he “inciting violence” by simply holding a mobile phone? And as Frank asked above, how come everyone else in the general vicinity of the court who had a mobile phone in their possession wasn’t also arrested on the same grounds?

        If you didn’t realize you were already there, welcome to dystopia. Raise your voice in dissent and you will be silenced.

        • Celts says:

          He wasn’t charged with Breach of the peace.

          He was charged and pleaded guilty to, Contempt of court. He already had a suspended sentence for the same offence.

          The reason it was so sensitive is that three trials were linked together and a collapse of one could have led to a collapse of the others.

          He has a right to appeal, which I believe he’s exercised, and that will begin on the 18th. July

  9. blockeddwarf says:

    Testing if the wordpress bug is sorted.

  10. Joe L. says:

    OT: Tobacco Control’s “no safe levels of environmental tobacco smoke” lie played a key role in getting most of the smoking bans we’re all forced to endure today signed into law. In fact, it was such a successful social engineering tool that the “experts” at the World Cancer Research Fund have decided to borrow it for their latest “health guidelines”:

    No amount of alcohol, sausage or bacon is safe according to cancer experts

    No amount of alcohol, sausage or bacon is safe according to a new global blueprint on how to beat cancer.

    Even small amounts of processed meats and booze increase the risk of a host of cancers outlined in World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) guidelines updated every decade.

    The respected global authority has unveiled a 10-point plan to cut your risk of getting cancer by up to 40%.

    Brits have been told to banish favourites such as ham, burgers and hot dogs from their diets by experts who say they are a direct cause of bowel cancer.

    Processed meats also cause people to be overweight which can trigger many more cancers.

    But UK experts have disagreed with the draconian advice insisting the odd bacon sandwich “isn’t anything to worry about”.

    The WCRF found boozing is directly linked to increased risk of six cancers and for the first time recommended sticking to water or unsweetened drinks.

    The report said: “Even small amounts of alcoholic drinks can increase the risk of some cancers.

    “There is no level of consumption below which there is no increase in the risk of at least some cancers.”

    On processed meats it added that “no level of intake can confidently be associated with a lack of risk of bowel cancer”.

    Cutting down on steaks and other red meat such as lamb and pork can reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

    Dr Giota Mitou, WRCF director of research, said: “We are making for the first time separate recommendations on sugar-sweetened drinks and the recommendation is to drink water and unsweetened drinks and to limit consumption of fast foods and other processed foods.

    “When we talk about cancer prevention the strong evidence is that we need to follow a package of lifestyle behaviours.

    “Individuals need to follow as many of these recommendations as possible, not just some of them.

    “The best advice is not to eat processed meat. The risk does increase with consumption.

    “Our Cancer Prevention Recommendations work together as a blueprint to beat cancer that people can trust, because they are based on evidence that has now proved consistent for decades.”

    The report, called Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective, said on current trends fat will overtake smoking as the number one risk cancer for cancer in 20 years.

    • Rose says:

      So they are back to try again after 11 years, last time it ended in widespread fury in the newspapers. Last time they had Professor Marmot leading the charge, a name you don’t forget easily.

      ‘Ban bacon’ say cancer experts

      “The World Cancer Research Fund study found strong evidence that eating red meat and processed meats such as pastrami, salami, and frankfurters can cause bowel cancer.”

      The study that will be released on Wednesday, defined processed meat as preserved by smoking, curing, salting or the addition of preservatives. Not all minced meats and hamburgers were considered “processed”.
      It also found a direct link between obesity and alcohol intake and the likelihood of falling victim to cancer.

      Survey chair Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, was surprised at these findings.”
      “He also suggested the direct link between increased weight and increased cancer risk was even stronger than the link between cigarettes and cancer:

      “With smoking, we know that if you smoke you increase your risk, but most smokers in the end don’t get cancer, so it’s not a one-to-one relation,” he explained.”

    • Rose says:

      I think this is the only time I’ve ever seen someone in Public Health explaining that they didn’t mean to cause a scare.

      A short extract.

      When Professor Martin Wiseman published his study on cancer this month he had no intention of demonising the bacon sarnie. Here he puts the record straight.
      Tuesday 13 November 2007

      “When I saw the headline in the Daily Express about “food fascists”, I wondered what the story was about. On closer examination, I realised that they were actually talking about my colleagues and me.

      The subject of the writer’s ire was the World Cancer Research Fund report on cancer prevention, which we published this month and which, in my role as project director, has taken some six years.

      While the Express headline might have been the extreme, even the general press coverage seemed to give the impression that our supposed war on the humble bacon butty was the greatest threat to the British way of life in living memory.

      As someone not used to being in the public eye, I found this rather bemusing. I wonder whether the people have an image of us as a bunch of puritans who want to ban bacon and who consume nothing but brown rice, water and vegetables in a desperate attempt to live to 110.

      The truth, I’m afraid, is rather more prosaic. Like many people, I enjoy good food and wine and when it comes to healthy living, including reducing cancer risk, there are areas where I could do better.

      But this report was never about wagging the finger at people, nor about making them feel scared or guilty about the fact that their lifestyle is not as healthy as possible. We have never attempted to tell people how they should live. If my next-door neighbours want to have bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then that’s up to them. What is important is that any decisions they make should be informed ones. Doctors have to give people information, some of it unwelcome, to help them decide between two treatment options, for example. But whether people like the facts or not, they need them if they are going to be able to make an informed choice. Our report has given them those facts.”

      Martin Wiseman is project director for the World Cancer Research Fund Expert Report

      • Joe L. says:

        Thanks for digging those articles up, Rose! It appears the World Cancer Research Fund waited 11 years to try this again using the “no safe level” myth in hopes that their poorly-received previous attempt had been forgotten.

        Clearly, the Healthists’ motto is, “If at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie again.”

        • Rose says:

          It’s not as if they did any experiments themselves, it was a meta-analysis to boost the obviously thin stuff they’d got already from who knows where.
          “The panel – that has reviewed half a million published papers worldwide – ”

          As ususual they haven’t put things in context, because that’s not Public Health do.

          Nitrosamines in bacon: a case study of balancing risks

          “In the early 1970s, a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology implicated nitrite itself as a carcinogen. As studies have raised concern over the safety of nitrite, regulators have had to weigh the potential risk from cancer against nitrite’s proven role in protecting consumers from deadly food poisoning bacteria.

          Today there is little scientific support for the theory that nitrite is a direct carcinogen. To deal with the nitrosamine problem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lowered the permissible amount of nitrite in cured meats to that level considered necessary for botulism protection.”

  11. Smoking Lamp says:

    The real danger of restricting reporting in democratic societies comes from the themselves. In this sense, I am referring to the current (and likely historical) practice of suppressing all alternative views other than the accepted view supported by the media outlet involved. The case that concerns us here is the ‘political correct’ advocacy of smoking bans that result in the persecution of smokers. One-sided reports that present only the ‘accepted’ tobacco control view are the case in point. This is reinforced by blocking, suppressing, and censoring dissenting opinions. The inherent antismoker bias is endemic and must be fought at every turn. The new battle space in this elite suppression of liberty is then call for outdoors smoking bans as most recently seen in Wales (and immediately before that in Somerset, Bath, and Ireland–not to mention New York and New Jersey. Since tobacco control is a globally co-ordinated project expect Scotland and England next!

  12. Pingback: Reporting Restrictions Lifted | Frank Davis

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