Published in my Local Paper!

Herne Bay Times

Sorry for the lack of posts recently – I have in fact been writing my butt off elsewhere, for other websites and publications (as you can tell from a few of my previous posts: Selectspecs, The Metropolist.)

But this week was the first time I’ve been published in my local newspaper – The Herne Bay/Canterbury/Whitstable Times (in all three – not sure about the Faversham one though?).  Check it out above, you may have to view image on a separate page to be able to read it!

It’s a really great feeling whenever I get published, when I see my name next to an article I’m proud of, but picking up a paper in the shop and seeing my name in print feels awesome (they even included my second name!)

I really hope this improves my chances of any future job applications (particularly in journalism) and is something I hope to be repeating in the future!

I also have other upcoming projects which may see me as bit of a presenter for Selectspecs!  I shall reveal all nearer the time, but for now Selectspecs have a new fashion and beauty magazine for their website which can be seen here.  Or my posts can be seen here.


Macedonia brings in chemical castration penalty for convicted paedophiles…

Macedonia

Image nicked from http://www.lonelyplanet.com

Picturesque Macedonia has been the first country I’ve heard of to bring in the penalty of castration for convicted peadophiles.

What a sentence to open a post with and yes you did read that right, read that again if you like, because that’s what I damn well did when I saw this in the Guardian yesterday.

So what happens if you’re a paedophile just been convicted in Macedonia?  Well, if this is your first conviction you don’t lose your nuts just yet, you’ll receive a jail sentence which could be up to life imprisonment.  Second time convicted?  Say goodbye to Mr Jingles.  Your bits will be chemically castrated and never to be seen again.

There is also another option for the first time convicted paedophile, they can voluntarily opt for the downstairs removal and be done with it, in order to reduce prison time because after release they are likely to commit again, which is why the child protection group Megjasi, who were the people campaigning for this penalty, says the law is still too lenient.

There’s the facts; now for the theory.  I am very open for comments expression opinions on this or explaining any of the science behind it.

Question number one: What is chemical castration?  Well actually, chemical castration isn’t as horrifying as it sounds.  Unlike castration as we all well know and maybe fear, you don’t actually lose your genitals, it’s actually medication administered to you which aims to reduce your libido and sexual activity.  Sorry for the physical images above, I thought it would add a cheery and comic seasoning to the serious core of this post.

Question number two:  Does it work on both men and women?  I guess so, I can only find cases relating to men though…

Question number three:  Is is reversible? Does it work?  Apparently according to trustworthy Wikipedia, if you discontinue treatment, which is injections every 3 months, then it can be reversible.  Oh dear, best make sure you get the job done properly then!  I can’t find much to see if this actually 100% works but I can see it causes other problems, which is the next question…

Question number four:  Are there any side effects?  Life threatening side effects can happen, but are rare.  Some users have had an increase of long-term risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease), osteoporosis (bone stuff going wrong,) Gynecomastia (glands in males becoming larger), reduced body hair and loss of muscle mass.

Question number five:  Is this a recent thing?  No, actually, Alan Turing, the famous British computer scientist, chose to be chemically castrated to avoid imprisonment in 1952 for homosexuality, which at the time was illegal, the homosexuality that is, not the chemical castration.

Question number six:  Is this a just punishment?  Is this right or wrong?  I can’t make my mind up on this one.  Relating this back to the age old favourite question of are you in favor of the death penalty, which I am not, I believe governments shouldn’t cause harm to their prisoners physically, in being killed and in the sense of beatings, hangings, tortures etc.  This is because I don’t feel prisoners should have an easy escape out of this life for the crime they’ve committed and also because the law states not to kill and this should be withheld in all society, so why should an executioner be above the law?  The other physical harm here could also be the side effects the medication can produce.

Saying that of course paedophiles do deserve suffering, please don’t get me wrong.  But is taking away their sex drive and the feeling of any arousal suffering?  When if treatment is completed, they wouldn’t feel the suffering of this loss because those feelings would not be there anyway?  Or would they?  Would cutting the burden of their own desires be a way of curing them, or a way of escape for them to live their life out in the world again with everyone else?

Opinions please…


Happiness…

…is in a cartwheel!


Maybe Journalism still has a lot of growing up to do…

I could hardly detain my excitement in the past two weeks; the spotlight is back on the papers – and namely some journalists – to start changing it’s act!

Firstly, Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, shrunk to a not-so boastful corner when she backtracked on her 2003 comments exclaiming she had “specific knowledge” that journalists “had paid police for information in the past.”  Like a teenage school girl declaring she personally knows the hottest new rapper Rebekah, who was back then editor of The Sun newspaper, sheepishly replied she was just “comment[ing] generally.”

At an attempt to apologise, you can almost picture the disapproving shaking head from Papa Murdoch when Rebekah explains; “If, in doing so, I gave the impression that I had knowledge of any specific cases, I can assure you that this was not my intention.”  Oh dear Rebekah, I wonder if you’ll be grounded for that comment.

Which brings me to the next media extravaganza of the News of the World phone hacking incident.  When this story was exposed last year the British public paid little attention to sympathise with the hurt and anger of celebrities having their private life invaded by tabloid mutts.  (Charlie Brooker wrote a brilliant article in the Guardian this week about this particular breed of journalists – if you haven’t read it you really should – click here!)

But what really made my lunch break last week was how Ian Edmondson (NoW’s former assistant editor) and Neville Thurlbeck (chief reporter) voluntarily, (yes voluntarily!), presented themselves to the police for arrest.  Although later released on bail (until September) another two of Murdoch’s star pupils had to attend detention. Outstanding!

This all leads to Labour’s new kid on the block, Ed Miliband, to comment on the “very bad” behavior of NoW’s journalists as he called for an inquiry into the press this week.  To what some might believe could be the start of “Ed-mania” (this time last year Cleggmania was rife!); Mr Miliband quite bravely put it out there; “I think it is in the interests of protecting the reputation of the British press that these matters should not simply be left to rest, and lessons have to be learned.”

Three cheers for Eddy!

No sarcasm intended.  Ed strummed the strings of my own heart when he went on to criticise the current self-regulatory body of the press “My strong instincts are that we do not want governmental regulation of these issues, but I don’t think the Press Complaints Commission has covered itself in glory.”

Ed explains; “It is not about government imposing this on the press, but I think the review needs to have some independence, both from government and from those involved in the day-to-day running of newspapers. I think that would help the industry. There has to be a sense that the future is not going to be like the past. Wider lessons have to be learned.”

And who knows, one day soon it could be a whole new ball game in the playground of the British newspaper industry.  You really couldn’t make this stuff up!


Murdoch’s grip grows stronger..

Government gave the go ahead to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to takeover 61% of BSkyB , earlier this month.

News Corp currently own 39% of BSkyB – as well as the Sun, the News of the World, the Times and the Sunday Times.

Culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is intending to approve News Corp’s buyout of BSkyB providing it becomes an independent company.  Press baron Rupert Murdoch himself, or his son James Murdoch presently chair the BSkyB, although not owning it completely.

“What everyone wants, what the public wants is … to have a free media in which no one person has too much control of our news outlets,” Hunt has said.

So, is it just me or does this statement from Jeremy contradicts his actions?

So yes, I do realise Rupert Murdoch created BSkyB, and that his or his son’s chairmanship will stand down if full ownership is brought.  I’m also aware that this would set Rupert back several billion pounds (yes billions).  But this doesn’t calm my anger.

Freedom of the press was a main topic, and indeed my main focus in my dissertation. I looked into the history of the freedom of the press, how newspapers broke away form government and how today’s capitalist society injected it’s own constraints into the media’s freedom, but more specifically to this new story – is how ownership in the British press is one it’s main monumental concerns.

Rupert’s empire owned 39.6% of the UK’s circulation, of printed press, in 2008. (McNair, B 1994).  I shan’t  go into any case studies about how Rupert cradled New Labour’s image before they won the 1997 election, or how after the fall of New Labour’s popularity Murdoch snapped his political alignment right back to conservative, with his paper’s following suit, especially in last year’s elections.  (However, and I do think it’s worth adding here – purely for comedic value – how the Independent’s headline story – “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will” – published last year caused a very flustered James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks to storm into the Independent’s offices to have a rant at the editor – seriously – click here!)

The point is, and Jeremy has agreed with me on this one, you can’t have one man controlling most of the news.  However Jeremy has gone on to say;-  “I’m minded to accept the undertakings that News Corp have made which I do believe address that many people had…about the concentration of media ownership…and what this does is ensure is actually more independent than it is at the moment.”

By giving Rupert Murdoch 100% of the whole company?  Continue Jeremy…

“These are legally binding and legally enforcing undertakings that are being made – they do things that, for example, insist that SkyNews has an independent Chairman…”  Well, there was no legal contravention when Murdoch extended his reigns into many UK publications in the 1980’s, when the Press Complaints Commission vowed to maintain the British press freedom.

“News Corporation has decided that in order to gain control of the rest of Sky they are prepared to relinquish a significant degree of control on Sky News – and I think that will persuade some of the concerns of plurality that people have…”

Rupert Murdoch is notoriously known for intervening with his newspapers, let alone other news outlets.  David Yellend, former editor for a Murdoch paper, told the Evening Standard last year explained all Murdoch editors have a “mantra” in their head on how to think, and publish, what Murdoch wants.  And Murdoch even said himself he didn’t come all this way “not to interfere”, back in 1981.

This has not persuaded my concerns, and I very much doubt it has persuaded anyone else’s.  Would you accept a promise from Rupert Murdoch that swears he’ll back down from a company he has just obtained complete ownership off?  We are talking about the same guy who built Wapping Jeremy…

26th April is the date Jeremy will give his final verdict…