Monday, 1 July 2013

Lord Black says DUP Iibel laws put jobs and investment at risk

The Belfast Telegraph reported on the Tory peer, Lord Black of Brentwood who was speaking in the House of Lords following Stormont's decision to uphold the old libel regime:
"Lord Black of Brentwood has warned that media jobs are at risk because Northern Ireland will be in danger of becoming the "libel capital" of the world."
Lord Black of Brentwood in his own words said:
"When politicians set their face against the future, investment and jobs suffer. Over 4,000 people work in publishing in Northern Ireland and another 2,000 work in broadcast. Some of those jobs may well be at risk if some of those companies decide that it is now too dangerous to operate in a jurisdiction that stifles freedom of expression.
Lord Black also warned that foreign investors could be deterred from operating in Northern Ireland:
"I can see no circumstances in which Google, Yahoo, AOL, Twitter and others would establish businesses in an area that ties them to an out-of-date, repressive libel jurisdiction.This decision is, in effect, rejecting the high-end jobs that the province desperately needs."
Mick Fealty on Slugger O'Toole went a little deeper, he said:
"Most opposition that’s not coming from Jim Allister, is coming from the media. The retreat from political opposition on the hill (Phil Flanagan of SF seems to be the only other MLA playing that role at the moment), means that there is no coherent political critique of this and other issues available other than that which journalism makes on its own behalf. 
Besides one of the notable characteristics of the current set up is just how sensitive the folks on the hill are about anyone speaking out of turn. Hardly surprising since it so rarely happens in the chamber, that early (and often unreasonable/unsustainable) resort to the law has become commonplace."

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