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New Libel Law? Good Man Michael

6.16.2005

Just to prove that their is some principle behind this blog and not simply some major desire to lampoon alll those who disagree with me, i am welcoming moves by Mick Mac to examine libel law governing the media in this state. Mcdowell is certainly not promising anything at this early stage but it is nice to see a member of the government following through on a pre election promise for once. THose who read Mcdowell in the Sindo before he left for government recall the man did an awful lot of running on the situation regarding libel in this country.
It is effectively feasible to gag a great number of our journos in matters which may be important to the national interest. it is not surprising that he is doing much of the review in the face of opposition from the FF tds. they ahve certainly set about savaging much of what he intends to get done in the next few months. however this is a point where i will be proud to stand beside the minister if he puts forward a genuinely reforming piece of legislation that pbalances the right of a private individual to some protection while also opening up the whole public sphere to scrutiny and observation. this is a big call and a tough balance to secure, one wonders if at the end any hopes will be disappointed as those of us were regarding the Garda Bill for 2005. This is a golden opportunity for the government to place some trust back in our system by guaranteeing the media a fair hand at reporting public life. it is also removing some of the power from central government regarding spin and other tools affecting discourse in this country.
There are a number of other thoughts that occured to me however when considering mcdowell's move.
The first is whether this is the move of a man who doesnt expect to have to operate under his own law, the timing of this move is in keeping with those who are betting on an early election and fallout with the PDs. By putting this in place at the end of his term, Mcdowell may well be leaving a stinker behind for those in the FF backbenchs who have made a bloodsport of hounding him. no turkey votes for christmas an this uncharacteristic move to promote openness in government and public life reek of a mission of vengence before being exorcised from government.
This is also a move which seems to be potentially hijacked by FF as a matter of course. one wonders if MCdowell will be able to handle much more of this 'weak-minded' protectionism before lambasting those in FF more publicly than his recent outburst reported inthe Sindo.
All signals point to a return for Mcdowell to the SIndo columns, if he does he will be there with renewedvigour and legislation that allows him to discuss whatever he wishes about puublic life. never underestimate the power of a minister scorned.
Red Rover

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