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    13 May, 2008

    Stop the censorship!

    My colleague Huw Lewis rightly raises an internal issue which has been pre-occupying Assembly Members today - the attempts of the Assembly Commission to censor our weblogs under new guidance circulated to us all by email.

    This illiberal guidance is supported by the Assembly Commission member responsible for ICT, Peter Black, normally the self-appointed champion of liberal causes.

    I have had support from colleagues in all four political parties in the Assembly for my challenge to this guidance. I am taking legal advice on its application.

    Ludicrously the Assembly panjandrums are saying that we cannot say on our websites what we can say in the Assembly Chamber.

    This is madness.


    Peter Black said...

    There is nothing illiberal about this proposal Leighton nor is it censorship. You can say what you like on your websites as long as you pay for it yourself. There needs to be rules about the proper use of Assembly resources. These apply to all other forms of communications funded from the public purse. They also need to apply to websites so as to prevent taxpayers money being used to promote a particular party or political viewpoint.

    Miller 2.0 said...

    This reminds me of our old student union election regulations, set by communists... ridiculous, in other words.

    Leighton Andrews said...

    The rules as drafted would prevent us repeating on websites and blogs funded by the Assembly much of what we might say in the Assembly Chamber. Clearly blogs must operate within the laws of libel, whereas we have absolute privilege within the Assembly Chamber, and must be subject to electoral law, but the principle should be that we are entitled to say on our websites and blogs, what we might say in the Chamber. The public purse is protected by the financial limits set on our office costs allowance.

    thinking of coming back to Labour said...

    Well said Leighton its good to see that freedom reigns and congratulations to Huw Lewis too.
    peter Black needs to get a lfe

    3rd floor stooge said...


    Perhaps you better think twice about leaving copies of your Lib Dem focus on the Assembly photo-copier before lecturing others about the use of tax-payers money?

    Keeping in touch with constituents via a website is a legitimate use of Assembly resources. Using Assembly facilities to produce Lib Dem literature is not.

    Dave said...

    Sounds like the civil service is overreacting to ms wagstaff et al and trying to take the politics out of politics!

    Would be interested in reading the precise phrasing employed to define what is regarded as political. If Peter Black can use his office costs allowance to take out adverts in the Lib Dem Herald and Focus then the regime cannot be as strict as you suggest - at least not if it's being applied proportionately!

    Peter Black said...

    Just to clarify I have not used the Assembly photocopier to copy FOCUS. I would suggest that is the responsibility of others, even non-Lib Dems. I do not believe that I used my allowance either to take out adverts in any Lib Dem publication either. When I do take out adverts I do so entirely to draw attention to my surgeries or how to contact me. There is no political content to those adverts. That is entirely within the rules and these adverts tend to be in local newspapers or guides.

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