International Miscarriage of Justice
There is an important extract from John Waters' storyThrough the evolution of media custom and practice, however, a situation has developed whereby the very mention of “childcare proceedings” or “family law” is enough to have media lawyers and editors running for cover. Even though it is very often abundantly clear that the only purpose being served by a blanket suppression of information is the protection of judges, lawyers, State agencies and professionals, media practitioners continue to impose an interpretation of the in camera rule that implicitly assumes these outcomes to be legitimate.
This applies to the irish rules, however.#
He goes on to saySuch interpretations of the legal situation are grossly inimical to the interests of democracy.
Something deeply ugly is happening at the heart of our society and the manner of its governance in the most intimate areas of human life.
If social workers from a foreign jurisdiction are enabled to run whooping and high-fiving from an Irish courtroom because they have been permitted to snatch the child of a blameless Irish mother, is it not time we asked what is happening?
The media offers the only forum in which such questions can be put. Media practitioners therefore have a sacred duty to take their courage in their hands and shine harsh searchlights on those who are empowered to intervene in the intimate lives of citizens to a close-to-absolute degree.
If we cannot report on such matters, why bother reporting anything?
Does it matter whether the economy functions?
Why should we care who sits in Leinster House?
Whatever happened to “publish and be damned”?
Are we journalists or entertainers?
How seriously do we take our role in democratic society?
Are we concerned with the public consequences of the events we write about, or simply seeking adequately interesting material to fill space and time to shift “product”?
Unless journalists and editors are prepared to address these questions, we may as well pull the blinds down on the enterprise of journalism and leave the protection of our democracy to the bloggers and tweeters, who at least have the excuse of having no responsibility for what happens to human freedom.