Mihir Bose recalls a classic case highlighting the problems with Britain’s antiquated libel laws.
History Today Volume: 63 Issue: 5 2013
The decision to set up a royal charter to underpin Justice Leveson’s recommendations on regulating the press may or may not mean the end of press freedom in this country, 334 years after the expiry of the 1662 Licensing of the Press Act. But the Leveson report has done little to deal with a problem that has done much to discourage good journalism: Britain’s wretched libel laws.
Leveson did not look at the libel laws, arguing that Parliament was already debating a new bill. However he did comment on the cost of libel and proposed a free arbitration service for anyone who feels unfairly treated by the press. It would have the power to impose fines and compensation. That sounds worthy but the problem is the system, as now agreed by Parliament, may result in exactly the opposite of what Leveson intended. As Simon Jenkins has pointed out, it could result in a ’stampede for anyone – including lobbyists – trying to grab a compulsory correction plus a quick payoff … Fines and compensation at the arbitration stage will put editors in thrall to chief executives and nervous publishers. Worse ensues if editors reject the new regulator and, because a matter of law is at stake, the case goes to a proper court. They there face punitive “million-pound” fines.’
Read more >
Read more >
Mrs Thatcher’s death not only marks the passing of a leader, the like of which we may not see again, but it also marks a watershed in sport.
Thatcher was the last of the British Prime Ministers who did not care about sport. Her husband Denis was passionate about sport, particularly his golf and was a former rugby referee, her son Mark played cricket for Harrow’s first XI but Mrs Thatcher could not understand why people cared about sport.
Read more >
Read more >
You’re clicking on the Olympic medal table – so what does it say about your country? Does it show wealth, repression, popularity of sport or just talent shining through?
English football likes to see itself as occupying a high moral plain. It also enjoys the praise sometimes lavished on the English game by footballers from more successful nations. At the beginning of the season Uwe Rosler, the former German international now managing Brentford, told me “In my four and a half years I learnt that English football is honest. In Germany sometimes you went down and tried to get a free kick. It was natural and we called it clever play. When I came to Manchester City I did it once or twice. The manager, Brian Horton, and the players came to me and said very clearly, ‘You do that not one more time’. There was a sense of justice in the group.”
Given that England, despite inventing the game, has won nothing since the 1966 World Cup this could be some solace. The fans can say: “We may not win, but we uphold the principles of fair play.” It also fits in with the general national attitude. Despite having had the greatest empire in the world, from which it derived vast benefits, this country – or at least its historians – likes to dwell on the benefits the empire brought to millions and how it was a moral force for the good. Both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evoked such moral sentiments.
Highlights of the Chatham House debate on the role of sport in diplomacy.
Chatham House, London
Jeremy Browne MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Simon Anholt, Independent Policy Advisor
John Steele, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Sport Trust
Chair: Mihir Bose, Writer and Broadcaster
With the upcoming London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the speakers considered:
- Can hosting the Olympics help the host engage new and emerging powers?
- How is a country’s image and ‘brand’ affected by hosting international sporting events or by the success or failure of its sports team?
- Can or should international sport be used to support political change?
Other Politics tagged articles
- Blackburn Rovers fiasco shows football is just too big and too important to self-regulate any longer - May 11, 2012
- Despite the turmoil, the racism debate might spark some good progress in English football - February 28, 2012
- Should Britain give India aid? - February 5, 2012
- India really has outgrown the need for UK aid - February 2, 2012
- The World Today Weekend interview - January 29, 2012
- The Week with George Galloway – interview - January 20, 2012
- At home: Lord Bell - January 20, 2012
- Midori House interview - January 20, 2012
- Blatter’s outrageous racism comments have done untold damage to him and FIFA - November 24, 2011
- TEDxEastEnd – The story of my father, the story of myself - September 27, 2011
- The Olympic super brands take over London - August 22, 2011
- Riots are elsewhere: so thought Britain, till the hoods came out in London and beyond - August 13, 2011
- The silence of the world’s football players in FIFA crisis is deafening - August 11, 2011
- Riots have raised security concerns about the Olympics - August 10, 2011
- The Games? It was Cherie who won it, says Tony Blair - July 25, 2011
- India bats its way up the new world order - July 21, 2011
- We’re in the money! (and it’s all thanks to Gordon Brown) - July 6, 2011
- FA come under attack as Blatter wins by landslide - June 1, 2011
- The warlordism that undermines football - June 1, 2011
- The World at One – FIFA corruption scandal - May 30, 2011
- Time to explode the great immigration myths - May 19, 2011
- We must act to save Pakistan for democracy - May 5, 2011
- English football faces moment of truth this autumn - April 5, 2011
- Cricket diplomacy for India and Pakistan - March 30, 2011
- Lalit Modi interview – Full interview - November 25, 2010
- Lalit Modi – Twittergate - November 25, 2010
- We Indians have always voted Labour. Until now… - May 2, 2010