Sunday, 15 September 2013

Anti-Censorship Series, Vol.6: Are You Being Gagged?

This is the sixth article in the series which was originally published on The Pensive Quill (TPQ). These articles document the unscrupulous behaviour of The Irish News journalist Allison Morris as well as the attempts by Morris and her editor Noel Doran to censor those who wished to expose it. I should add that Anthony McIntyre, who runs TPQ, has offered Noel Doran a full right of reply on his website. 

For about a a week now I have been nonchalantly anticipating two letters: one from the Ethics Council of the NUJ and the other from a censor lawyer. It seems one at least is about to be on its way, if not already in the post.  

Why I’ve been expecting this is not because I have been guilty of any wrongdoing, the opposite in fact. I suspect that after Allison Morris was caught lying on Letters Blogatory, her fury was so unbridled that she would strive to find some other way to silence me and prevent me from explaining her unethical behaviour on that blog to anyone who might be inclined to read it – quite a lot of people by the look of things. 

The Ethics Council of course, having made itself look mega stupid by reaching the silly verdict that it did, and then only to have it overturned, would jump at the opportunity for another round. No doubt those members of the Ethics Council think another bite at the cherry would be sweeter: ‘How dare that rotter from the slums make us look foolish old boy. Box his ears I say.’ Try boxing them indeed if you are willing to risk another bloody nose. 

Censor lawyers, always on the lookout for some target they can home in on with their eraser sharp clutches, and from whom they might extract cash, just love to issue their letters confetti-like to anybody with an opinion on behalf of somebody else eager to smother that opinion, and possessed of the financial clout needed to impose a regime of silence. Lolly, not ethics, is always important in these matters: the need to turn a pound more important than the need to turn a phrase. As I am hopelessly bereft of cash, it all sort of goes over my head. I don’t envisage breaking rocks either to pay up. 

Today while in a second hand bookshop I was contacted by a solicitor in Belfast to inform me that Morris was looking my home address. Unlike Morris, he has an ethics based approach to his profession and just does not hand clients’ addresses out willy nilly to any chancer that comes along seeking them. Before I went back to browsing through the book I had in my hand, The Liars Club, I instructed him to let her search for it herself. It might be an honest day’s work for her. 

So I guess it is just a question of which letter arrives first from what would-be censor. As you can see I am really stressed out by it all and have taken to the drink to cope. I am so terrified that they might ultimately jail me that I have just rushed off and removed every blog post I have ever written, and have plastered the internet with profuse and profound apologies to Allison Morris. Readers are advised to contact me when they find any and I will reward the first one across the line with all the money Morris hopes to get but never will. Why should she be rewarded for lying on Letters Blogatory

So, dear reader, before I sign off, do copy all the posts written in relation to this scandalous affair so that they may be widely distributed over the internet in the event of the censors managing to put the lights out here through court orders or whatever. Whichever threatening letter arrives first, as it duly shall, you can see it posted on this blog or on another if the censors manage to close this one down. The freedom to write will not only be defended but vigorously asserted whatever the odds. Allison Morris will become a byword for censorship. And if prison is the going rate to achieve that it will be a price well worth paying. In this case silence is not a commodity that money can buy.

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