August 8, 2022

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Most Important Lawsuit - Dagsavisen

Most Important Lawsuit – Dagsavisen

Nearly three years ago, well-known Welsh journalist Carol Cadwallader held Fifteen minute lecture which would have been legendary. She spoke about her excavation work for the Observer newspaper, where she and her colleagues revealed the forces behind Brexit. She talked about how the tech giant Facebook was misusing it, manipulating voters into voting to “leave” rather than “remain”. She spoke about the relations between millionaires, Russian interests, and right-wing extremists. About how huge sums of money are used to spread lies about the European Union on behalf of the Leave campaign.

Rather than having more contrived discussions about cancellation culture and the lack of a platform, we should be talking more about this type of issue. Much more.

“The Brexit referendum took place in the dark. Because it happened on Facebook,” Cadwalladr said, noting that only you see your news feed. Then it disappears, and no one knows who put what there, what the message is, and why exactly you see what You saw, how much money was paid or where that money came from. Facebook knows it. But they won’t say it.

“It comes down to whether it is actually possible to have a free and fair choice again. As it is, I don’t think so,” was my conclusion.

Millionaire Aaron Banks was one of those she named in the lecture. He has been a supporter of right-wing populist politician Nigel Farage and has donated large sums to his UKIP party, and is behind the Leave campaign. European Union. In two sentences, she referred to “the lies of the banks” about covert contacts with Russia.

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Banks have been hunting her ever since. Among other things, he sued her for defamation. This week, the case was taken to court. And Cadwalladr, Thursday, posted a photo on Twitter with the comment: “4 years of sarcasm. 2.5 years of legal harassment. 3 tough days in the witness box. It was designed to crush me. And she can do that.”

Banks has not filed a lawsuit against TED, the organization that hosted the Cadwalladr lecture, which is still showing its video on its platforms. Nor has he sued The Observer, the newspaper for which she works as a freelance journalist. Instead, it goes after the individual and demands huge amounts of money in compensation.

The case run by Aaron Banks has been described as harassment by several free speech and press organizations. The goal does not appear to be to restore his own honor, but to eliminate a skilled and annoying journalist, once and for all. With side effects other drilling journalists and the media they work for can think twice before posting critical cases about powerful people with big money next.

Press freedom organizations that support Cadwallader believe that the lawsuit against Banks is actually a so-called slap – Strategic lawsuit against public participation. This means that the individual journalist must eventually spend so much time, money, and effort defending himself against a powerful adversary, that he is no longer able to deal with him, and in any case does not have the ability to work with the press as well as legal affairs. Processing.

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Ironically, in a TED talk, Cadwalladr spoke about how the forces they uncovered threatened them with lawsuits to stop publishing information about them. The first to come out was Cambridge Analytica. A day before The Observer released the first issue, before a sensational interview with renegade Cadwalladr a year to come, Facebook called. Now they will also prosecute the newspaper if they publish the interview.

“We did it anyway,” Cadwallader said. Applause erupted in the audience.

But who is clapping now? Of course, the support of press organizations and other journalists is important. Nonetheless: given the seriousness of this matter, it otherwise remains surprisingly quiet. Cadwalladr is not a millionaire, and he must raise money to fund the trial On the “Democracy: Fought” website.

It’s an appropriate name. Cadwalladr’s first revelations to Cambridge Analytica was about a serious attack on a very basic element of democracy: free elections. It is now being persecuted in a way that poses a threat to another central part of the democratic foundation: freedom of expression.

Rather than having more contrived discussions about cancellation culture and the lack of a platform, we should be talking more about this type of issue. Much more. Because that’s what a gag looks like in real life. Journalists are not only persecuted in authoritarian regimes. As long as the authorities do not provide laws and regulations that prevent this type of abuse of justice, it can happen in free democracies as well.

Friday was the last day in court. Hopefully the verdict will be a lesson for Arron Banks: She’s gone out with the wrong lady. Democracy triumphed.

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