Rolf Harris And Press Censorship

After reading Guido Fawkes’ blog yesterday, I’ve decided to write about press freedom but I’m going to stray from the accepted narrative that you’ll read about everywhere else. To begin with let’s look at the meat of what Guido wrote.

Today we can report that Rolf Harris has also been questioned under caution by police from Operation Yewtree. This has been an open secret in media circles for weeks, journalists and newspaper editors alike have known about the story – yet none has published the news. Why?

No judge has ordered reporting restrictions in relation to Rolf Harris, no super-injunctions prevent the reporting of news concerning him, instead his lawyers Harbottle and Lewis are citing the Leveson Inquiry’s report in letters to editors of newspapers – cowing them into silence. The Leveson effect is real and curtailing the freedom of the press through fear.

Guido Fawkes

This extract is absolutely in line with every major media outlet’s position , along with every shallow politician of whatever stripe, desperate for the support of those media outlets.

The truth is that there is nothing in Leveson which could have stopped any MSM outlet from reporting that Rolf Harris had been questioned, absolutely nothing. Nor is there anything that is likely to come about as a result of the Leveson Enquiry, including a statutory underpinning of the Press Complaints Commission, which would stop the press from reporting in the future.

My own view is that far from newspaper editors being ‘cowed into silence’ they’ve seized on this  little story to illustrate the narrative they wish to promote. They want to distil the argument to a ‘censorship bad, press freedom good’ paradigm. It is not that black and white and it’s best to remember why there was a Leveson Enquiry in the first place.

A newspaper can always, and will always be able to, publish and be damned, and stars like Rolf Harris who can afford a £7,000 a week stay at The Priory can always afford to seek legal redress.

Anyone with an internet connection and the inclination to type ‘Rolf Harris’ into Google, have been in on this “open secret in media circles” since November 29th when he was questioned.

The first step to freedom is to know when you’re  being manipulated and resist.


Filed under Leveson, News, Yewtree

32 responses to “Rolf Harris And Press Censorship

  1. Herbiniger

    I think it’s high time some of these people who have complained about ‘being touched’ in ways that were not fit and proper to come forward and explain how they got into the situation in the first place. Some of them may have been an innocent party but I’ll bet some put themselves into a situation that they wanted to be in. Like groupies going after a ‘good time’ to brag the fact to their mates.

    Were all the ‘stars’ of the time supposed to ask for names, ages and addresses should a complaint be raised 30 years later by a load of people on the bandwagon.

  2. If a policemen wants to ask you some questions (note you have not been arrested, you are just being questioned) and before he starts he says “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” then you are being questioned under caution. You are being made aware of your rights and cautioned that the interview is official.

    Alternatively, if you have been arrested (generally for a minor offence) and the police decide it is not prosecute you then they may ask you to accept a police caution (it is effectively a signed confession and an acceptance to be bound by the law) If you are guilty then you would be wise to accept it. It remains on your record for a short period of time only. If you are innocent then you can refuse this official caution.

  3. AnnS

    If I’m understanding this, being interviewed under caution is also a way of the police dealing with crimes that deserve a telling off rather than a court appearance. So, if I told police that somebody touched me inappropriately when I was 20 in 1983, they would interview that person under caution. If the person admitted the crime then the police could just say you’ve been naughty, this is a warning, don’t do it again ?.

  4. john gabb.

    sorry gojam, your reply came through while i was writing mine.

  5. john gabb.

    if you google police cautions, and i suggest you do,it states that you have to admit an offence and agree to be cautioned. if you don’t, you can be arrested and charged. i’m sure the laws of the land include cuddly old rolf. i know if i was innocent i would rather go to court to save my career and reputation. i think dear rolf has lost both.

    • alanbstardmp

      That is incorrect. As soon as police believe you may be involved in something they must caution you to remind you of basic rights

  6. john gabb.

    so alan, if i were offered a caution, but stringently denied any offence,what would happen then?

    • Some confusion here.

      between a) being questioned under caution (notified of your rights before being questioned)

      and b) receiving a police caution (an alternative to prosecution and an admission of guilt)

      You can’t refuse the former but you can refuse the latter.

    • alanbstardmp

      you can deny what you like, but Plod has made their mind up and they have a good suspect and will decide what to do after the record of interview

      Come up with the right answers and you may become no further use to their inquiries and all good

  7. john gabb.

    surely to accept a caution, one must confess to a level of guilt?

    • alanbstardmp

      No, you don’t accept a caution. It is given to you, like it or not if police have cause to believe you are involved in something

  8. Matteroffact

    Hear Hear AnnS, if the police see no reason to talk to RH again, then it’s not news. Just a guy now with a tainted name.

    • alanbstardmp

      who said they see no reason? They said no need to return. They know where to find him if they need him

  9. AnnS

    ‘Someone I know went to MC about a paedophile ring which involved a famous person’. – Any reason why this person didn’t go to the police or was it simply the money he was after rather than justice ?.

    Re the RH rumours, this was the response from the Met Police – ‘A Metropolitan Police spokesman said a man in his 80’s was interviewed under caution by officers working on Operation Yewtree and had not been asked to return for further questioning’.

    So if he’s not been arrested, not been charged and requires no further questioning then there’s nothing to report. Just maybe dragging the reputation of an elderly man with a frail wife through the press didn’t seem necessary.

  10. Jude Hollingsworth

    Regardless of one’s wealth or fame, if they have been questioned about an on-going investigation that could potentially affect the community, such as a paedophile, then it is certainly news-worthy. The good people of England know quite well that until one is formally charged with a crime they are presumed innocent. I don’t think they need to have their hands held and told ‘police questioning does not indicate guilt’. If that information can inform a would-be victim should the person in question actually be a predator, then it did it’s intended job; notifying the public. If it’s found that a person was innocent and had nothing to do with the subject of the investigation, then that too should be and usually is reported, especially if that person wants to make a statement in his/her own defense. But let’s not forget that in most cases a person of interest is not brought in for questioning without a fairly good reason, correct? (as I noted, in most cases, there are always exceptions) How many children could possibly have been saved from the brutal rapes/molestations had Mr. Saville been named as someone who was being questioned? Although it sounds as though many over-looked his creepy nature and his personal keys to a private hospital bedroom, something could have been done to stop his sick practices.
    This is the trade-off one makes to have freedom of speech and freedom of the press to report what is public knowledge. I for one was shocked to learn of the libel laws in England. It gives much more protection to perpetrators of crimes rather than the victims. Case in point, McCann! With their access to the best attorneys Richard Branson’s (and others) money can buy, there will be no end to their libel suits if they can legally sue anyone who questions their outrageous story, using the police files that are public information. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of. It’s a witch-hunt, pursuing anyone that recites police files in a manner they don’t like. They are in fact suspects, are they not?
    The English press needs to, as we say in the US, ‘grow a set’ and start offering a service to the people they supposedly write for, otherwise, they might as well shut down the presses, for your’re not providing anything useful to the public. Reading the same stories with the same biased opinions gets old. You seem to have lost the nerve that led you to reporting in the first place. ‘Yes’ men/women are a dime a dozen. If you report based on facts rather than attempting to be liked by the elite, you’ll find you actually have readers who respect and respond to you.
    This is only my opinion, I do not expect to change any minds; that is not my intention. I know I could not handle having my government telling me what I can or cannot say, it’s not their place. Make up your own mind England!

  11. Max Clifford is literally a maggot, writhing in the body politic of celebrity vanity and vice…feeding off it, regurgitating it.

  12. Callie

    You need better jokes, and newer ones if possible.

  13. Humpty

    So did he tie a kangaroo down
    Or two little boys?

  14. Callie

    Spot on Gojam, the whole Leveson-is-scary business is simply a nonsense. An even bigger nonsense is the idea that by publishing the name of a famous man who has merely been questioned Guido is protecting him and others from the dark forces of the police state who might otherwise disappear them.
    Nonsense on stilts.

  15. Rockpoolshrimp

    We are being told about people we might already dislike. No ‘well loved’ people? makes me think we won’t hear about polititions either.

    It’s like scraps to dogs. I’m glad I found your blog – I will question everything the MSM says now.

    • Remember Max Clifford’s raison d’etre. He is like a mafia don, there to stop news coming out and not to air truth and the MSM are complicit,”Don’t publish the embarrassing photos of my famous client with his ‘personal trainer’ Nigel, don’t kill the cash cow, and I’ll feed you a generated argument on X Factor or a picture of Cowell with his latest beard.” it’s a rigged game. Someone I know went to MC about a paedophile ring which involved a famous person and he was shafted and silenced in the most brutal way because Clifford could make more money from the famous person implicated than he could from promoting the story. This is quasi-blackmail. Max Clifford is in the business of reputation protection rackets.

      Scraps ? Yeh you got that right. Bread and circuses, crumbs and reality TV.

      How many MSM outlets covered the exaro report about Op Fairbank where MPs and former cabinet ministers were implicated ? None Did Guido Fawkes cover it ? No!

      Sadly, Guido is too indebted to the MSM, politicians, and the establishment in general for his Westminster gossip. Hence he spews the Murdoch, Dacre, Barclay Brothers media line. That’s the price he’s paid for success.

      We can’t report Rolf because of Leveson, Bullshit!

      I don’t ask anyone to take my own views without questioning them, you and everyone should question all media, always ask cui bono, who benefits, always make your own mind up.

  16. paul

    fairness works both ways. it’s not fair that sexual predators can get away with behaviour just because they’ ‘re powerful celebs

    • Paul A

      That is not the argument. The naming and blaming of Christopher Jeffries in the Joannna Yeates murder investigation is the perfect example of why nobody should be named in any police investigation until they are charged with an offence. Whether they are famous and powerful or not is irrelevant to this principle.

  17. Paul Kustow

    Does the fact that people have been questioned by police automatically mean that these people are guilty of a crime? Of course it doesn’t, but the press and bloggasphere seem to believe it gives them license to publicise names, giving the impression that they are guilty, even before a charge is laid. This is wrong and unjust.

    We need a law to prevent the names of individuals who “help the police with their enquiries” being publicised until they are actually charged with a crime.

    • misty53

      Hear, hear. This is something I have been saying for years. MSM can make you or break you. They should not have that power!

      • alanbstardmp

        being questioned under caution is significant

        • misty53

          as far as I am aware no one has been charged with anything, so they are still helping police with their enquiries. MSM ruin lives thats why we had Leveson

      • alanbstardmp

        yes Misty, but being spoken to by the police as Rolf H was initially, and returning again and being cautioned is significant. He may be innocent, but when police caution you, they have a belief you may have something to do with it