(Conditional) Freedom of the Press

A blog post by Albert Semple

16 May 2023

With the BBC news report that Tory donor Javad Marandi's "overseas interests had played a key role in an elaborate money-laundering scheme involving one of Azerbaijan's richest oligarchs" being revealed only after an 19 month injunction had been lifted, I thought it would be a good time to share this poem advertising services to the wealthy to avoid the pesky freedom of the press.

The freedom of press is a British tradition
That holds to account any rogue politician:
The freedom to print any facts that are true
About what our government ministers do.
Elected officials are all scrutinised
To check their positions are not compromised
And let our historic democracy function,
Unless they stump up for a super-injunction:
So if you can stomach solicitors' fees
(A quarter-a-milion or so, if you please)
We'll silence reporters with troublesome scoops
And keep dirty secrets clean off of the books.
A privilege closed off to regular faces
Who can't afford lawyers for privacy cases.
They just have to take it, accept fair-is-fair,
Unless they've a quarter-a-million to spare.
For if you have money, we'll hide out of sight
The troublesome truths that the press want to write.
We'll get a court order, we'll leverage clout.
A super-injunction — the proles won't find out.
Accessible version