Saturday, April 09, 2005

Inside Scoop -- Not Any Longer

Canada is in the midst of a scandal that could bring down the current government. You will not see anything on this in the Canadian media, simply because the Canadian judge selected to head up the public inquiry has slapped a publication ban on any testimony coming from the investigation. Captain Ed over at Captian's Quarters, is outside of the reach of this Canadian judge and has posted a good deal of information on the proceedings. Jay Currie, a Canadian writer and blogger has more on this in his Tech Central Station article.

"Things recently heated up when the former CEO of one of the ad companies alleged to have paid kickbacks was called to testify. Jean Brault has been charged with criminal fraud in the matter and his lawyers have asked for and been granted a publication ban on his testimony. The ban is supposed to protect his right to a fair trial which had been scheduled to begin in less than a month.

Implicit in the publication ban is the assumption that potential jurors could not be trusted to hear only the evidence which was actually presented at Brault's trial. An assumption for which there is next to no evidence and which reflects a striking paternalism implicit in the entire idea of publication bans."
This is, after all, supposed to be a public inquiry, so why the publication ban. Claiming that it would influence potential jurors is a rather lame excuse.

Enter Captain Ed Morrissey, from the Minnesota based bog, Captain's Quarters. To the great delight of Canadian political junkies -- 133,000 in the first few hours -- Ed published a summary of the first day of Brault's damning testimony. The Captain got his information from an as yet unidentified individual who had access to the still open testimony at the public hearing.Many pixels were spilled in the Canadian blogosphere hinting at where to find Captain's Quarters on the net and speculating whether a link to this blog violated the publication ban.Gormery's people and lawyers for the federal government threatened prosecution for contempt. However, at least one Canadian television network broadcast the Captain's location. His server was overwhelmed."

Hat's off to Captain Ed. Some one needed to get the light of scrutiny on this.

"What was once inside information closely held by political, legal and media elites is now available to anyone who can manage a simple search on Google.

Captain Ed may very well have ensured the collapse of a remarkably corrupt Canadian political party in a nation not his own. For which many of us are very grateful.

But Captain's Quarter's broadside has holed the edifice of inside information beneath the waterline. The Internet has transformed the theory of a peoples' right to know into a realistic practice.

For better or worse, the paternalism and condescension towards the public which is embodied in the very idea of a publication ban has been fatally short-circuited.

Thanks Ed."
Jay Currie, being Canadian, may be in some trouble over this publication ban. I will keep my ear to the rail on this one. - Sailor

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