Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Question The Times Must Answer

Having just read the vomit inducing article on The Times website which names the Night Jack blogger (and no, I'm not going to link to it), I am aghast that they seem to be using some sort of public interest defence - almost as if they are performing a public service by unmasking him. Their reasoning seems to be that doing things anonymously is a bad thing.

OK, it's a point of view, and in some circumstances I can agree with them. So the next time I read in one of their political column "A source close to Gordon Brown", can we expect them to name the source? No, thought not. Hypocrites.

UPDATE: NightJack has, rather unbelievably, written an article for The Times HERE.


JuliaM said...

"I am aghast that they seem to be using some sort of public interest defence - almost as if they are performing a public service by unmasking him. Their reasoning seems to be that doing things anonymously is a bad thing."

No, their reasoning is that bloggers in general are a threat to them.

Tony_E said...

They have just ended any chance that they will be the recipient of 'police sources' information

A spineless and unwarranted act of sabotage by the Times.

talwin said...

God preserve us from those who wish to serve the public interest (as defined by them, of course).

And, yet again, God preserve us from Judge Eady.

Unknown said...

The blog has disappeared now. :(

Conand said...

Very true Iain, I agree entirely.
Will 'Inspector Gadget', 'PC Blogs', 'Copperfield', 'Mad Max' etc now all go to ground? I hope not. It is time everbody started promoting the Police blogs ceaselessly.

Tom said...

Public interest? More like the interest of the dead tree press in their battle against the blogosphere which has supplanted them as the number one outlet for anonymous tip-offs.

Guess I'll just have to find somewhere else to do my su dokus from now on...

Old BE said...

This is an attempt to staunch the haemorrhage of traffic away from the old media to the new. The police blogs will now have to shut down or shut up. How is that in the public interest?

Well done, The Times. I suspect a few favours were called in on behalf of the government on this one.

Kcila said...

Shameful. On the next occassion that a Times journalist is in the dock and refuses to name his/her sources I hope the Prosecution and the Beak use Judge Eady's ruling to force them to name and shame.

Can you imagine the squealing if it was the other way round? Attack on the freedom of the Press etc etc. I hope the ruling comes back and bites the Times on its corporate arse.

Dr Evil said...

The MSM don't like Bloggers. They see bloggers as upstarts and of course, competition. Funny how Justice Eady protects the privacy of perverts but not bloggers.

ranger1640 said...

Will the Times journalists if they ever get an Exclusive give the details of their whistle blower or source as it is in the public interest to know?

The internet is the source of freedom of speech the Times and Eady have restricted that.

The Times action along with judgement of judge Eady has given government, police and all the other little fiefdoms that control our lives the green light to take to court whistle blowers.

Cynic said...

The Times argued in court and the Judge agreed that it was in the public interest for the identity to be revealed of bloggers who criticised senior politicians, police leaders and Ministers.

...And Judges we assume. Can't have the plebs getting out of their box and criticising their betters. Next thing you know they would be exposing those Judges who make stupid decisions, are grossly incompetent, drunks, wife beaters, pay illegal immigrants to act as their cleaner , etc, etc. Ministers who conceal the truth and lie to the public might be exposed.

And then where would we be.

Jim Baxter said...

I hope Nightjack's book sells millions so that he can tell his employers what to do with their job if he wants to. Perhaps Iain could keep us posted on its progress. I'll need five copies myself.

Gaelic Con said...

Hear Hear Iain.

Keep the pressure on on this one.

JuliaM said...

"..And Judges we assume. Can't have the plebs getting out of their box and criticising their betters."

How long will 'The Magistrate's Blog' stay up, I wonder? The same arguments could be used against that.

And 'NHS Blog Doctor'....

Catosays said...

This is spiteful jealousy by The Times.
There was no justification whatsoever for naming Nightjack.
And, I've told them so in their comments...whether they'll publish without trying to expose me is another matter.

Spartan said...

The only people to win this this disgraceful judgement will be the establishment and those who make serious errors.

Those that work in the public sector frequently see the consequences of misguided policies and the social ills of society that some want to hide.

This is a bad day for democracy and The Times should hang its head in shame.

Anonymous said...

Patrick Foster, the Times journalist that did the research is a total cock. Knew him at Oxford and he was a smug, smarmy git. Someone ought to do some digging about his past...

JohnR said...

This looks to me to be less about the old media versus the new, but about chilling insiders that use the internet for whistle blowing.

ranger1640 said...

What about an investigation into Judges expenses?

I see the BBC are quoting that the internet (blogs) are being used to overturn the corrupt election result in Iran. How ironic that they can use the internet in Iran to over throw a corrupt election result without giving public interest reasons to divulge bloggers?

I hope Frances Gibb is delighted to hear that today’s Times (fish and chip wrapper because that is all that the Times is good for now unless you still use it for low grade toilet paper) will be the last Times I ever buy!!!!

DMC said...

The Times is really just jealous because people trust bloggers like you and Guido and Hopi for news instead of the Times.

Im saddend about NightJack- I have only seen the blog once but i know from regular readers of the blog really liked it, its make you wonder about some of the NHS bloggers out there, are they to be targeted next?

Plato said...

Iain, like many others I have blogged this too.

The Times 'journalist' that outed NightJack has ruined a great blog for cheap column inches.

FFS if it had been the Met's Commissioner then fine, but a DC?

After 20yrs service, this chap was going nowhere career wise and no threat to anyone other than those who didn't like being exposed.

I'm appalled and livid that he's been outed using supposed 'public interest' arguments - he was just a plodster with opinions and zero personal influence as no one knew who he was.

Shame on The Times.

wv beaked, says it all.

Dino Fancellu said...

I would hope that any blogger with honour would refuse to publish anything on the Times.

They have shown that they are the enemy.

DMC said...

I want to say that the times have an Have Your Say page below the article on their website.

Go and show them your disgust!

strapworld said...

But, iain, could it now be argued that The Times and all journalists will no longer be able to hide their informants!

I believe The Times may have shot themselves in the foot.

They have denied these political pygmies who hide behind anonymity that anonymity!!

I await the verdict of our learned friends who read this blog.

I have known Mr Justice Eady many years and his advice was always solid. I am sure careful reading of his reasoning will prove what I believe, to be correct!

Sam said...

Some thoughts here from the publisher of Inspector Gadget and Copperfield and PC Bloggs.

Nightjack exposed

DMC said...

What i dont understand is why they had to put his picture up there too.

Could they not have just named him and left it at that instead of plastering his picture up on there website.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Times are picking a fight. Just great!

Charles said...

Remember, this is the fearless newspaper that was offered the chance to blow the whistle on 650 MP's expenses and decided they'd not bother.

They'd far rather screw a man who WAS actually performing a public service.

Spineless shits.

Bardirect said...

Judges who have been discliplined are however to retain their anonymity but continue to sit in judgment.

Judging far more than blogging can be seen "essentially a public rather than a private activity" and most people would probably consider that any right of privacy on the part of the Judge would be likely to be outweighed by a countervailing public interest in revealing that a particular Judge had been up to.

Sauce goose gander etc.

Perhaps it is time for elected Judges.

Anonymous said...

I'm a regular Times/Sunday Times customer.

I'm writing to Rupert and James Murdoch to say I won't be purchasing again unless/until they announce a policy against this rubbish.

Elliot Kane said...

This is pretty awful behaviour by The Times, IMO. I only read Jack Night's blog a few times, but the thing that most struck me was how deeply he cares about policing and protecting his community.

There was simply no public interest to be served by naming him, let alone reporting him to his superiors. We need more good, honest cops like Jack Night, not to throw away the ones we have.

The only reason The Times can have to do this is the hope of shifting a few more copies and that's really not a good enough reason to risk ruining the career of someone who has done nothing wrong.

This makes me very sad.

SimonStClare said...

What a surprise.

"Police Force disciplines police blogger whose anonymous blog carried criticisms of government ministers and police bureaucracy"


Andy said...

This is a further example of the bunker mentality. Anyone who is afraid of free speech, of opinions that run counter to the party line will eventually go down this road. Its the emperors new clothes ..

With most mainstream media, NuLab have a stranglehold - toe the line or be frozen out .. Most mainsteam media are gutless.

Any good leader undrestands that unless you can listen and analyse another point of view, you will never have the respect you need to lead .. and boy does GB not get that - he thinks you can lead by dictat - he is delusioned.

ranger1640 said...

Depending on who you are and how much money you have you can get to keep your privacy? But if you are a blogger and whistle blower no privacy for you!!!


Guess who was the judge?

Watcher said...

I know nostalgia isn't what it used to be, but...

When the Times was the newspaper of record, no bylines appeared on its news reports. This was, according to my then English teacher (who by complete coincidence occasionally wrote for the Times, funnily enough), for two reasons: it was rather vulgar to name lowlife like reporters; and anyway, why should the newspaper of record need to do so: if the Times said it, then it could be relied on, without authorial attribution.

Not sure where all this gets me, except to say that there was no need for the Times to do this to Nightjack, and I hope it means open season on its journalists, managers and owners when it comes to their own little secrets.

wv logon - couldn't make it up

ranger1640 said...

Bardirect said "Perhaps it is time for elected Judges".

Bardirect, the time is well over due as is the time for elected chief police officers!!!

English First said...

Ian, The Times & Financial Times are riddled with Common Purpose "graduates", a Marxist subversive organisation whose CEO is Julia Middleton.

But then Cameron, Brown and Clegg also have very, very close association with Common Purpose! Oh So did Blair, his wife Cherry and don`t lets forget Ms Kinnock will we!

Oh nearly forgot, the so called independent Media Trust hang out in the same office as this dangerous organisation. In fact at least one director from the FT is also a director in Common Purpose & The Media Trust!

Oh and finally, Lancashire Police have a number of senior Police Officers that are also Common Purpose Graduates and hole Common Purpose advisory committee meetings at their HQ in normal working at hours at tax payers expense! This committee decide how to spend YOUR money on Common Purpose training for "suitable" candidates in the local area! The cost of a course? Between £3,000 and 10,000 + vat naturally!

It`s all crystal clear isn`t it?

Anonymous said...

Mosley was awarded a judgement that his privacy was violated AND it was not in the PUBLIC interest.

Two interesting points:
1) NoW who lost is owned by the Times.
2) How can a person who controls a multi billion pound industry not be liable for blackmail, when he does not want his wife to find out about his S&M parties.

Paul Linford said...

Couldn't agree more Iain. I am absolutely at a loss to understand what this has achieved for journalism, which ought to be what The Times is about.
Journalism has always depended to some extent on the use of anonymous sources, from the Crimean War to Watergate to MPs expenses, and as you so rightly point out, The Times itself acknowledges this every time it publishes a based on "sources close to the Prime Minister." Like Dr Crippne, NightJack was performing a valuable journalistic service by telling it like it is in our public services. Why oh why has a newspaper decided to do the government's dirty work by unmasking him?

Unknown said...

Was this a political decision? NightJack was very rude about Jack Straw (who is currently reviewing our libel and privacy laws and is waiting for the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee report next month)

(Sending this in two parts)


Counting The Cracks In The Pavement
2009 March 31
by nightjack
“Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.“

Tom Lehrer

How the hell did we get here with the likes of Copperfield, Bloggs and Gadget being joined weekly by more officers all telling tales of the ugly truths of current Criminal Justice? How did we get into a situation where the Circuit Judges are quietly revolting and the Magistrates are as unhappy as unhappy can be with being pushed around by the government? Why has serious and violent crime been on the up every year since 1997? What kind of people have been setting the policies that have kicked such a big hole between the Police and the public? Bluntly, who has had their hands on the wheel whilst public confidence in all arms of the Criminal Justice System has tanked. I have an over simplistic explanation. It’s time to name and shame.

I’m sitting here thinking that we have a Lord Chancellor who has presided as public confidence in the Criminal Justice System is dropping through the floor. Only 31% of us now feel any level of confidence in how our system deals with criminals. His reaction? Well Jack Straw has been busy doing the Hokey Cokey with Bill of Rights 1.1 and foisting a Sentencing Commission onto judges through the Coroner’s and Justice Bill. I say foisting because the rather grandly named Council of Her Majesty’s Circuit Juudges broke cover last week and said “We do not consider these sentencing proposals to have any benefit. The proposals are not sought by the judiciary or any other criminal justice group. They are unnecessary, costly and unwelcome.” That strikes me as judge speak for “Stop.“

We started this government with a Lord Chancellor called Lord McKay of Clashfern. Editor of Halsbury’s Laws of England, by most accounts an outstanding lawyer and judge, leader of the Scots Bar, basically a bloody good lawyer and well respected. Fit to be top judge? Oh yes. Man of substance. A man guaranteed to put the interests of a strong independent judiciary above party politics.

A Distinguished and Experienced Lawyer

Cometh the blessed TonyBlair, cometh the old mate in the shape of Tony’s old boss Lord Irvine of Lairgs. He blows £650,000 of our money doing up his grace and favour pad including £59,000 on wallpaper. His career highlights involved marrying his best friends wife, introducing the Blairs and providing legal advice to the Labour Party throughout the 1980’s. A towering legal presence fit for the top judges spot? Possibly not but Tony liked him and he was keen on passing the Human Rights Act.

Tony’s Old Boss

As we slide gently down the ability curve, another mate of Tony’s got to wear the shiney golden robes. Step forward Lord Falconer of Thoroton. Lest you forget, he used to be Tony’s flat mate. Surely, you are thinking, he had more qualification than that? Well, he ran the Millenium Dome for a while, and he was Tony’s mate. At least he was some sort of lawyer and he made QC in 1991.

Unknown said...

Tony’s Old Flatmate

That takes us back to the current incumbent Mr. John Whitaker Straw. Well he qualified as a barrister some years ago but since 1979, he has been a full time politician. That’s the man in charge of the Ministry of Justice. It shows.

Some Bloke Who Used To Be A Lawyer A Long Time Ago

That’s how it has been for noble office of Lord Chancellor these last few years. Does the man at the top of the pile inspire any confidence in and of himself? The results are in.

That other twin pillar of the Criminal Justice System, the Home Secretary, how has that noble office of state fared?

We start with the incumbent Michael Howard QC. Say what you like about him but he qualified as a QC on merit in 1982. As a Home Secretary, he authored the quote “Let us be clear. Prison works. It ensures that we are protected from murderers, muggers and rapists, and it makes many who are tempted to commit crime think twice.” He was a Home Secretary who at least seemed to understand that the sentencing system needs to carry a little weight and that punishments need to enjoy general acceptance as fair. He appreciated the containment element of prison as well.

Unknown said...

Reasonably Good At Law Stuff

Next up, running the Cops, the previously mentioned John Whitaker Straw. Jack brought us R.I.P.A. , sent Pinochet back to Chile and said of pre Operation Desert Storm Iraq “”we have faith in the integrity of the Iraqi judicial process and that you should have no concerns if you haven’t done anything wrong.” Thank’s Jack.

Perhaps Not Quite So Good At Law

All things must pass and in 2001, it was time for David Blunkett. Regular readers will know my opinions on his reign. A career politician with all the knowledge and experience of law enforcement that you would expect from the preparation of Sheffield City Council and teaching. Seldom has so much damage been done to the Police Service by one man. Along with beefing up RIPA and taking a swipe at jury trial, he started us down the road towards National Identity Cards. He was forced kicking and screaming from office when it became clear that he was somewhat involved in speeding through the immigration status of his mistress’s nanny, and giving the same mistress free train tickets on the public purse. I can do no better than quoting the top cop of the time Lord Stevens “If you are ever asked to meet with Blunkett, under no circumstances should you go alone…he is a bully and a liar.” Just what you want to hear about the man running the Police.

Gleeful Wrecker

Now David Blunkett was replaced by Charles Clarke. Another career politician with a side line in running a PR agency. He was another man wedded to identity cards with a regrettable ambition to have all communications data stored for law enforcement purposes. According to his successor, he left a Home Office unfit for purpose.

More Of The Same

Enter Dr. John Reid. The doctorate was in history. The doctoral thesis was a Marxist analysis of the slave trade. From there until parliament he was a full time political organiser, you can guess which party. He was surpisingly sound on building more prisons, closing up our porous borders and sorting out the Probation Service but he did not survive the departure of the blessed Tony and the accession of the Dear Leader.

60 Watts In A 20 Watt World

That brings us to Jacqueline Jill Smith, another academic but sans doctoral thesis this time. You all know the score with Jacqui. Total expenses hog. Second home that isn’t. Lots of TVs and a lovely fireplace. The current Home Secretary has made a signed claim for her husband’s prOn and trousered the resultant cash. We don’t ask for much before she claims her expenses but at least she could have pretended to check them and weeded out the obviously bogus stuff. Maybe her husband could have done better by her for his our £40,000 a year. Either way she made a blatantly bogus claim and she is set on brazening it out.

Born To Wear Clown Shoes

I detect a downward slope. We start of with one of the greatest lawyers of his age and we end up with errrm Jack Straw. We start off with a man who understands the public expectations that punishments should fit crimes and we end up with a petty expenses fiddler who tries to pretend she hasn’t been caught red handed. Now I’m not claiming that there was ever any golden age of the Criminal Justice System. That would be foolish, but I am just pointing out that there is a case to be made that the people in the key jobs may not have been the best possible choices .

Anonymous said...


Remember that post?: Instutionalised incompetence. You were were not so hot on coppers then. Perhaps ypu only ment some coppers and not others. Again I ask did you mean all the dead ones in that analysis (300 alone in NI), are they any more or less incompetent than Nightjack.

Swatch said...


Q. Is this political?

A. No.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain: Are you throwing a hissy fit again? It is a well written and informative article. My understanding is that it was argued that it is in the public interest to expose a serving police officer who is in breach of the rules.

Your analogy with journalists sources is a false comparison.

However, I fail to see why judges should remain anonymous when they have broken the rules. Perhaps, the Guardian can seek a JR on the basis of Eady J's judgment.

Nigel said...

The issue here isn't really privacy law, as a decision in favour of Nightjack might have set a precedent for a yet more restrictive privacy law.

It is the Times' editorial judgement, which sucks.

David MacLean said...

Hello Iain, let me respectfully disagree:

It’s nice for people to respect your anonymity, but you shouldn’t have any legal right to it.

Don't forget, no-one is forced to reveal their identity when they start a blog. It’s not against the law to have an anonymous blog. It’s just that if someone does discover an anonymous blogger’s identity, they should have the same right to disseminate information and comment as the anonymous blogger had.

I've put together a few bullet points for my point of view over on my blog: http://www.davidmaclean.eu

Hope you don't mind the link-whoring!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps bloggers should start a campaign to publish lots of 'private' details about journalists - addresses, names of partners, spouses and childen, salary, other sources of income, tax information, photos of them going about their everyday activities, etc?

It's funny how it's only 'public interest' if it's about someone else.

Old Holborn said...

I have some dirt on Patrick Foster


Anonymous said...

They've named this police officer but the man tasered in Nottingham has remained anonymous. He is allowed to brief against the police in the press and build this incident up, yet he was arrested and released on bail for grievous bodily harm - hardly a martyr.

I can't understand it myself, I've blogged about the tasering and mentioned this as part of a comment on the coverage of the incident. http://joshuachambers.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/when-tasers-go-right/

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that this met with approbation in government; as tin-hat and moonstruck as the claim my appear, I wouldn't be all that surprised if government had a role in the story.

The police are, after 12 years of Labour rule, a joke; setting targets and quotas for arrests so as to provide the Home Office with easily deployed quantative evidence for improvment in crime, neglecting the fairly obvious flaws in fixing a quota for crimes not yet committed. Add to that government's reneging on previous practice on Police pay, and frankly, I'm not surprised increasing numbers of officers are turning to anonymous internet outlets to voice complaints. I offer the following as evidence for an isolated case;


Jon Lishman said...

Unbelievable. And I agree with most of the comments about the shocking behaviour of that paper.

But the question for me is: what is Tory policy on internet anonymity? One can't help feeling that after suffering at the hands of some influential bloggers themselves (not least Paul Staines), they will tacitly support this dangerous precedent. I hope I'm wrong.

On the day we had a government announcement on New Media (complete with appalling article by Groaning Brown - you guessed it, in the Times) which amounts to no more and no less than a programme for state regulation of the entire internet (and everyone who uses it, presumably), the timing of this judgement was pretty odd.

Welcome to China, folks.

Anonymous said...

have to agree with David MacLean, if a blogger is careless enough to give away enough information so that their identity can be worked out, they can't really complain about people working out who they are, and furthermore they shouldn't try and legally stop people from saying who they are.

james c said...

Eady's argument was that blogging is essentially a public activity and so not protected by privacy legislation.

This seems an unusual way to describe an act that takes place in private and is done anonymously.

Anonymous said...

So what was the point of it all, what do we gain by knowing the identity?

The story seems to be no larger than "we've found out a blogger's identity", even Lancashire Police appear to see not much seriously wrong, having issued little more than a written warning.

Vienna Woods said...

"The Times" stopped publishing any letters of response after the first three, which were all critical of its actions. For instance, I sent a response 6 hours ago with no reaction as yet. Perhaps the idiots will realise that they have done themselves a great disservice - no more police briefings as they can no longer be trusted. They are actually stupid enough to believe that all will be well in the morning.

Goodbye "Times", it's been nice knowing you!

Charles Crawford said...

Are we not all overreacting here, folks?

What exactly is wrong with the law in this area? If not much, why compain about a judge upholding it?

Try drafting a law to stop Night Jack being outed by someone, and see how many villains and their corruption/hypocrisy hide behind it in glee.

In today's e-age, you just can't hide for long. Pity for some purposes and people. But there it is.


simon said...

It is hard to see any great benefit in what the Times did but a newspaper shouldn't have to justify publishing the truth. It would have been extraordinary and repressive if the courts had banned the paper from revealing Night Jack's identity.

simon said...

And people saying that the Times won't get any leaks, private briefings, police info etc don't understand how journalism.

Leaked info and the like is given on well-understood principles about the protection of sources. The law will give quite wide protection to a journalist who refuses to name a source. Night Jack wasn't a source for the Times so the paper had no obligation or particular reason to protect his anonymity.

simon said...

"...how journalism works...", I should have said.

Anonymous said...

Journalists are ridiculous and oppressive at the same time. They nurtured the dirty spin tactics played by Gordon Brown. They protected "souces" who spread vile lies against their enemies, then they have to sit through press conferences, where the PM denies the lies they printed. They just sit there, looking pretty stupid and cowardly. If they had a spine between them, they would demand he sacked those he's calling liars, but the don't. They just continue to do his dirty work for them and take the blame when it goes wrong.

Andy said...

Just tell me, Iain, that next time you get a call for a quote from The Times you'll laugh in their face and tell them *why* you're refusing to speak to them.

Cos, face it - you're likelier than most of us to get the opportunity.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Nightjack's outing, it shows a breathtaking naivety about the nature of this medium.

When was the last time you wrote a letter. In ink. On paper? And sent it, with a stamp? A real letter, not a business one? I used to think about manuscripts lodged in the British Museum, and how, these days, fragments of centuries gone by just won't exist in writing because all date is now electronic.

Well, that is just not true. All the words in all the towns from all the blogs in the world will exist a thousand years from now, in complete form, just as they were written, because somewhere, they every single word that gets on the www still exists. Even if it appears to have gone, sooner or later it will be retrieved by a clever bit of kit.

Anybody who knows anything about the internet knows this. So it is rather odd that someone who ought to know better could imagine remaining anonymous.

Right now, the only thing between the downfall of Gordon Brown and New Labour is some fairly negligable legislation that prevents the retrieval of emails and other communications that would screw them big time. A decent hacker could probably already do this. My guess is, most of the damaging banter going about Number Ten is not even encrypted.

The only thing between others knowing all about you, and every word you have ever written, and a veil of obscurity is practicality and the law. To pretend that one can in some way operate under a nom de ordinateur and bask in anonymity is like going ex-directory and expecting not to be rung up by double glazing firms.

But God only knows why The Times felt it was in the public interest to name Night Jack. They may have won a legal argument, but not, I believe, a moral one.

Ken Dodds Dads Dogs Dead said...

Anon 11.30 is spot on.
These Journos and the foolish Judge have now scared EVERY blogger who dares tell the truth about what is happening to our society. Whistleblowers are NOT safe. Welcome to the fascist state.
We can all see it. Insane targets, moronic courses and all the while less people do less time in prison.....but as long as the numbers "show" that crime is down, thats all that matters.
Nightjack was one of the brave few to point this out from the front line. I wonder what Labour had to promise The Times for this.
It was political. Especially on this day of the "Digital Britain" report.
Telling the truth truly is a revolutionary act. From today, its a criminal one to.

James Dowden said...

There's only one letter that everyone should write to The Times after this incident. Regardless of the legal merits of the case (it looks as if The Times bought good enough lawyers to get the result it desired), it shows a shocking lack of judgment on all levels. And the ultimate lack of judgment was the Editor's in running the story. It is therefore his fault that this once-fine newspaper has had its name dragged through the mud. The letter has to be one seeking his resignation.

JuliaM said...

"Was this a political decision?"

Ya think...?!

Interestingly, the original column by Foster still has the same three (unfavourable) comments on it. No other comments are being published.

I think we can conclude they might be starting to realise they've shot themselves in the foot here...

labour for the few said...

will the nulabour home secretary deport him?

robin hood said...

the times must now release the identity of their sources.

under labour success is hated(unless you are employed by the state),you are successful,and a target of this oppressive left wing country,be careful.

Submariner said...

Night Jack's piece in The Times today was probably imposed on him by his employer as a condition of staying in the job. The last few sentences suggest that strongly, and the whole thing has a ring of being obliged to make a statement rather than wanting to convey a point. I can't imagine it being a matter of choice.

talwin said...

The elite hate and are frightened by the police. It was ever thus.

Guy Herbert said...

It is the official ideology that doing things anonymously (or pseudonymously) is a bad thing. The rationale is precisely that that leads Nightjack to be disciplinied and his blog removed. Anonymity and privacy are necessary precursors of freedom. What you do privately cannot be controlled either explicitly by command and regulation, or implicitly by social pressure or by unacknowledged command in licensing conditions and inspector's oversight.

It is the same motive that drives the contemporary demand for registration (and thus necessarily closer regulation) of home educators. 'We need to see what you are doing because otherwise you might not do what we want.'

Philipa said...

Bastards. They've destroyed him.

In the public interest? I don't think so.

JuliaM said: their reasoning is that bloggers in general are a threat to them

well said that woman. So true.

I will NEVER buy the Times newspaper again. NEVER.

T Needham said...

I left a comment on the "Have Your Say" section attached to the Times' article on this matter(see:http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6509677.ece)
I left me comment at 6:45 am. It did not appear. Only two comments have been published and they were both showing prior to 6:45.Could this be a technical hitch or would The Times really stoop to blocking access?
By the way, I wasn't offensive, I merely pointed out that I would no longer buy the Times.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much par for the course.

Anything that is good for the grass roots population is always spoilt by those that seek to control it, profit from it or ban it in favour of their own self interest.

Old Holborn said...

I was quite amazed that Sir David Eady QC of GOODSHILL FARMHOUSE CRANBROOK ROAD TENTERDEN KENT TN306UN, a man noted for his obsession with privacy, would do such a thing.

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment on the Times Online story about this, late last night, criticising the action of the Times and pointing out the implications for their own whistle blowers. It has not been published.

Galdys Pew said...

So thats me boycotting the Times from now on..
Nightjack was brilliant. They should put him in charge of policing and sack the numpties who currently run it.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

T Needham

The Times routinely blocks comments that don't reflect their take on stories and so do their comment writers, as does the BBC and other mainstream media.

Remember the Dan Hannan attack on Gordon Brown. None of them touched it, until they began to look preposterously censorious.

You could say that media censoring of popular opinion is the reason blogs exist at all.

doodledandy said...

The latest on the 'NightJackStraw' blogger:-


Disco Biscuit said...

So if you featured in a police investigation (as a witness or suspect), you'd be happy for a police officer on that investigation to give a running commentary of it on his blog?

I think not, Iain.

Word verification: "plopp". Ha!

Slow Learner said...

Two years ago The Times earned the contempt of 'adult bloggers' when for no good reason it outed 'Girl With A One-Track Mind' and in so doing took her life to pieces. The contempt that was heaped on that rag at the time seems simply to have bounced off with no lessons learned and no contrition.

The observation that The Times feels threatened by bloggers and is consequently lashing out at the softer targets seems well made.

Anonymous said...

Well I read his blog and it didn't seem to me that it was particularly revealing, he didn't give names or anything like that and you would have had to do some detective work yourself to find out what he was talking about.

Plus in at least one of the cases complained about, it was all reported in the papers as it went through the courts anyway.

I can't help thinking there is a culture at the Times of outing bloggers and when they decline to be outed, doorstepping them and then when that doesn't work, putting them out of business. Spite really.

Interesting that the Times is suppressing criticism of their actions on their online Comments.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of those journalists and others supporting the "exposure" of Night Jack, work in occupations or organisations where whistleblowing leads to sacking. Maybe if they did they would be less sanguine about the need to remove anonymity from bloggers.

R Nosgrove said...

I hope that the few extra copies The Times has sold by this cheap and spiteful stunt will be far outweighed by the many regular readers, like myself, who will never buy their paper again.


The Grim Reaper said...

From the way some of you are talking, one would be half-forgiven for thinking that this is the first time a blogger's real identity has been revealed. As we all know, it isn't.

Remember when a certain Guido Fawkes was outed as Paul Staines? It hasn't done his blog any harm at all - indeed, he now has more readers than ever. Different context I know, but similar reasoning.

According to this morning's Daily Mail, "Nightjack" has received several offers to write a book. If he takes up some of the offers that will head his way in the next few weeks, this could be the best thing that ever happened to him.

Martin Wellbourne said...

I think the reason for Nightjack's piece in The Snitch is perfectly clear:- Nightjack loves Big Brother.

Anonymous said...

Yes but Paul Staines is not employed by anyone and financially independent plus he runs his blog from outside the UK. What is more concerning is the potential use of this ruling to stifle whistleblowers particularly those employed in the public sector.

And I really don't believe the Times was acting in some dubious spirit of public interest. If so why not tell us the name of all those spokemen "close to the government" who feed them stories, as Iain points out.

It's all gone very quiet at Times Online and virtually no comments are running, assume they have been suppressed as critical of the Times's action. They can hand it out apparently but they can't take it.

Alix said...

The Times has also stopped the journo in question, Patrick Foster, from going on the Richard Bacon show tonight apparently.


Anonymous said...

Just been reading Daniel Finkelstein's pathetic defence at Comment Central at the Times Online. He is taking a hammering from readers. But while the Times has posted comments from readers in support of Night Jack himself, it is still suppressing all comments critical of its own actions.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I remain astounded that some anonymous commenters were under the delusion that The Times is some sort of drawn sword parting the darkness of ignorance.

The Times exists to serve the egos and expense accounts of people like Finkelstein, not to provide a platform for dissent. They are, in their own unique way, as corrupt as politicians.

Vienna Woods said...

How typical! Twenty four hours after The Times "scoop", a string of letters from the public have appeared. Its whining article entitled "mixed feelings over the decision" has done nothing to abate the anger and not a single letter agrees with their actions.

czechboy said...

http://www.bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=127470 Nightjack get your complaint in first

P Foster would have done well to read this when he was confronted at his door by the boys in blue

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1531307/Student-barred-over-sex-film.html Patrick Foster Peeping Tom