Thursday, 7 January 2010

The WATM Podcast Episode 5

Podcast five is ready for the listening. This week we take on the challenges of free speech with both UK libel law and the desire by one group to protest in Wootton Bassett. We also look at ITV, elections around the world and, of course, a cocktail.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the freedom of speech issue associated with the Wooten Bassett protest my first instinct is that Tom is right that this area cannot be deemed as a no-protest zone much like a radical mosque or buckingham palace can't be deemed a no-protest zone, subject to certain security constraints, but like you guys said it is a very difficult question. I think there are only two real arguments to not allow the protest: 1) that there is a security concern which is obvious that it shouldn't be allowed and 2) that in some way this protest is highly offensive on a personal level to the families of the dead soldiers coming home much like for a time pictures of and media access to the returning coffins was not allowed in fear that families would find it painful in a particularly trying time for them. However how does one go about determing whether or not it is highly offensive? It would seem the most logical way would be for it to depend on the desires of the families of the deceased soldiers but that would imply two conflicts: what if there is disagreement between families when unfortunately more than one body is being returned? and secondly this would probably imply that there would be some ceremonies where it was allowed and some where it was not, and the permission probably only being determined days or mere hours in advance of the returning bodies, effectively negating the right to protest at all. It seems then that it would be an all or nothing proposition; no real middle ground on a case by case basis seems available. However does one side for always allowing protest or always stopping it? As you guys said I'm not sure if there is one clear side, but if it is about preventing offense to these grieving families surely common decency requires us to protect their interests first due to the intensely personal nature of the subject in question. Rick you raised an interesting point about how these soldiers are in some way representing the state and so we owe a responsibility not to protest, but at the same time I think that works the other way. That as much as this is a personal event, they are representatives of the state and in some way are symbols for the actions taken by the state, giving support to allowing protest. I also think this conversation might have a different tone if the war effort was less justified (think Vietnam) or if the protest was less radical. I was also struck by how different the response is in Canada when soldiers return from afghanistan to CFB Trenton where they are then driven along what has been nicknamed the "highway of heroes." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26393964//
-Wes from Canada/Harvard!

P.S. I do listen to the podcasts and I find them quite interesting and lively. I hope you guys talk about how Stephen Harper has decided to once again prorogue Canada's parliament in your next podcast (along with the total own goal that was the Hoon-Hewitt debacle.) You might also want to start doing a disclaimer on the dangers of alcoholism before all your cocktail recipes just for liability purposes...