14 May 2011

On the theory and practice of the right to be heard...

I've just been watching Newsnight and a discussion of the privacy/freedom of the press/injunctions issue. The participants were a well-known actor, a lawyer, a magazine editor, and a "former escort"*

Much of the discussion concerned how rich men were able to exploit the present legal provision to cover up their discreditable activities, often to the oppression of others involved who were prohibited from telling their stories.

The discussion was articulate and cut-and-thrust, good TV. For three of the four participants. The chair, Emily Maitlis, did a great job trying to ensure that the former escort had her say. She (the guest) made her points well, but she was out of her depth when the discussion took off, and just sat waiting to be invited to join in.

(And substantively she had the most nuanced case to argue...)

Three confident and assertive professionals in their (more or less) natural habitat. And one not. And her non-participation said more about whose interests are really being served than any of the points being made verbally by the others.

Watch it on iPlayer until 20 May, here.

* All respect to the woman who was prepared to appear on the programme;
(her name appeared on screen so anonymity is not an issue, just irrelevant.) I'm sure it was not a trivial act.

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