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September 23 2014

The UK : latest front line in the European shale_gas battles

The UK : latest front line in the European #shale_gas battles

The #United_Kingdom is full of strong opinions when it comes to shale gas, which requires hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) – the controversial technique where a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected at high pressure into rock followed by depressurisation – to extract it. David Cameron’s conservative coalition government is pushing harder than ever on both a domestic and European level to promote the practice (and the lucrative rewards assumed to go with it). Meanwhile, thousands of (...)


/ #Extractive_Industries, #Energy, United Kingdom, #Total, #GDF_Suez, #Cuadrilla, #Extractive_Industries, #Fossil_fuels, #Lobbying, #local_communities, shale gas, #greenhouse_gas, #social_impact, #environmental_impact, #extractive_industries, #energy, regulations and (...)

#regulations_and_norms #influence
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September 07 2013

*‘They make you feel like you're a criminal' : Iraqi's account of UK asylum system* ❝Ghada, a…

‘They make you feel like you’re a criminal’: Iraqi’s account of UK asylum system

Ghada, a refugee from Iraq, fled her home country in 2007. She had been persecuted for working with foreigners and promoting women’s rights. Here’s an account of her experience of the UK asylum system.

#asile #réfugié #Irak #UK #Grande-Bretagne #migration #témoignage

August 30 2013

August 21 2013

Black people twice as likely to be charged with drugs possession – report | World news | The…

Black people twice as likely to be charged with drugs possession – report | World news | The Guardian

Black people are not just significantly more likely to be searched by police for drugs than their white peers, but face almost double the chance of being charged if any are found, according to a study of racial disparities in the way drug laws are enforced.

The study showed, for instance, disparities for cocaine possession in London, with 78% of black people charged, compared with 44% of white people. Black people were also almost twice as likely to be charged for possession of cannabis in the capital.

The report, which analysed Home Office data in conjunction with freedom of information responses from police forces in England and Wales, also uncovered what the authors call a “postcode lottery” in the apparent racial basis for drug policing. While black people were just over six times more likely to be searched for drugs nationally, this was significantly higher in some places. In one police area, Dorset, the differential was 17 times.

#police #racisme #xénophobie #UK

August 16 2013

July 25 2013

« Le Royal baby et les 1,6 million d'enfants britanniques sous-alimentés » [L'Huma]

« Le Royal baby et les 1,6 million d’enfants britanniques sous-alimentés » [L’Huma]

Le Prince qui va vivre sur le dos des Britanniques est né une cuillère en argent dans la bouche. Ce n’est pas le cas des nombreux enfants vivant dans la pauvreté en Grande-Bretagne. Selon l’association Save the Children, un enfant sur trois grandit dans une famille gagnant moins de 60% du salaire britannique moyen. L’association précise qu’un million six cent mille enfants sont sous alimentés et vivent dans des appartements insalubres et surpeuplés. Il y a fort à parier que le Royal Baby ne vivra pas dans le quartier londonien de Bethnal Green and Bow, où 42% des enfants vivent sous le seuil de pauvreté. Il devrait plus fréquenter les quartiers huppés de Richmond (7%) ou de Kingston (11%).

#UK #monarchie #inégalités #enfance #pauvreté

July 09 2013

June 14 2013

Four short links: 14 June 2014

  1. How Geeks Opened up the UK Government (Guardian) — excellent video introduction to how the UK is transforming its civil service to digital delivery. Most powerful moment for me was scrolling through various depts’ web sites and seeing consistent visual design.
  2. Tools for Working Remotely — Braid’s set of tools (Trello, Hackpad, Slingshot, etc.) for remote software teams.
  3. Git Push to Deploy on Google App EngineEnabling this feature will create a remote Git repository for your application’s source code. Pushing your application’s source code to this repository will simultaneously archive the latest the version of the code and deploy it to the App Engine platform.
  4. Amazon’s 3D Printer Store — printers and supplies. Deeply underwhelming moment of it arriving on the mainstream.

April 23 2013

EGMR (Große Kammer): Animal Defenders - Verbot politischer Fernsehwerbung kein Verstoß gegen Art 10 EMRK - Abkehr von VgT?

Knapper hätte die Entscheidung nicht ausfallen können: mit 9:8 Stimmen entschied heute die Große Kammer des EGMR, dass das Verbot der Fernsehausstrahlung eines Werbespots der Tierrechtsorganisation "Animal Defenders International" (ADI) im Vereinigten Königreich keine Verletzung des Art 10 EMRK darstellte (EGMR 22.04.2013, Animal Defenders International gegen Vereinigtes Königreich, Appl. no.48876/08; siehe auch die Pressemitteilung des EGMR).

Abkehr von der VgT-Rechtsprechung
Damit geht der EGMR im Ergebnis von seiner bisherigen Rechtsprechung zum Verbot politischer Fernsehwerbung - insbesondere dem Fall VgT - ab, auch wenn dies in der Mehrheitsmeinung etwas relativiert wird. Zentrale Bedeutung hatte es für die Entscheidung der Mehrheit, dass das Verbot politischer Fernsehwerbung im Vereinigten Königreich eine sehr lange Geschichte hat und die Regelung - vor und nach dem VgT-Urteil - umfassend parlamentarisch und in diversen offiziellen Kommissionen und Konsultationen erörtert und schließlich im Parlament auch ohne Gegenstimme beschlossen worden war. Wesentlich war weiters, dass das Werbeverbot auf das "einflussreichste und teuerste Medium" beschränkt war und dem Ziel diente, die Unparteilichkeit des Rundfunks zu bewahren - ein Ziel, das schließlich auch in die vom EGMR vorgenommene Abwägung zwischen dem Recht der beschwerdeführenden NGO auf Weitergabe von Informationen und dem Wunsch der Behörden, die demokratischen Debatten und Prozesse vor einer Verzerrung durch finanzkräftige Gruppen zu schützen, eingestellt wurde. Das Urteil enthält in diesem Zusammenhang auch bemerkenswerte Ausführungen zur Bedeutung des Internet und der sozialen Medien. Ein ausführliches zustimmendes Sondervotum stammt vom britischen Richter Bratza, zwei abweichende Meinungen verdeutlichen dann die tiefe Spaltung des Gerichtshofes in dieser Frage.

Im Folgenden eine erste - angesichts der Bedeutung des Urteils etwas länger geratene - Übersicht über dieses Urteil:

1. Zur Vorgeschichte
Der Werbespot "My Mate's A Primate"  - in dem man zunächst ein vierjähriges Mädchen und dann einen Schimpansen in einem Käfig sieht - war vom Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre als politisch eingestuft und nicht zur Ausstrahlung zugelassen worden. Grundlage dafür war Sec 321 (2) und (3) des Communications Act 2003, wonach politische Werbung (in einem sehr weit verstandenen Sinn) im Fernsehen verboten ist. Der High Court und das House of Lords sahen keine Verletzung des britischen Human Rights Act und der damit umgesetzten Konventionsrechte; die nationalen Urteile setzten sich ausführlich auch mit der Rechtsprechung des EGMR, insbesondere dem Fall VgT, auseinander.

2. Nationaler rechtlicher Hintergrund und internationale Quellen
Das Urteil der Großen Kammer stellt zunächst nicht nur die Entscheidungen der britischen Gerichte relativ ausführlich dar (RNr 11-33), sondern vor allem auch die im Zusammenhang mit der Revision der Rundfunk-Rechtsvorschriften im UK stehenden Konsultationen, Komitees und Berichte bzw parlamentarischen Debatten (RNr 37-55). Ausführlich zitiert wird auch eine von der EPRA (European Platorm of Regulatory Authorities) durchgeführte Untersuchung über die Zulässigkeit politischer Fernsehwerbung in 31 europäischen Staaten (RNr 65-70). Auch der EGMR selbst hat 34 Vertragsstaaten der EMRK untersucht; in 19 dieser Staaten gibt es Verbote politischer Werbung in irgendeiner Form (RNr 71-72). Der Trend geht aber in einer großen Mehrheit der Staaten dahin, Werbung in gewissem sozialen Interesse von bestimmten Einrichtungen zuzulassen. Schließlich verweist der EGMR auch auf eine Empfehlung des Europarats-Ministerkomitees aus dem Jahr 1999 und die Erläuterungen dazu und hält dabei fest, dass auch bei der Überarbeitung der Empfehlung durch die Empfehlung Rec(2007)15 vom Ministerkomitee keine ausdrückliche Position zur Zulässigkeit politischer Werbung eingenommen wurde.

3. Gesetzlich begründeter Eingriff zur Verfolgung eines legitimen Ziels
Vor dem EGMR war unstrittig, dass das Verbot der Ausstrahlung des Werbespots einen Eingriff in das nach Art 10 EMRK geschützte Recht darstellte, dass dieser Eingriff gesetzlich begründet war und einem legitimen Ziel diente. Der EGMR erkennt dabei ausdrücklich an, dass das Ziel, die Unparteilichkeit des Rundfunks in Angelegenheiten von öffentlichem Interesse zu bewahren und dadurch den demokratischen Prozess zu schützen ("preserving the impartiality of broadcasting on public interest matters and, thereby, of protecting the democratic process") dem legitimen Ziel des Schutzes der Rechte anderer im Sinne des Art 10 Abs 2 EMRK entspreche (RNr 78; Kritik schon daran gibt es in der ersten abweichenden Meinung; RNr 12: "for aims which may not necessarily fully conform to one or more of the legitimate aims of Article 10 § 2").

4. Allgemeine Grundsätze - NGOs als public watchdogs
Der EGMR legt dann anhand seiner Rechtsprechung die allgemeinen Grundsätze für die Beurteilung von Eingriffen in das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung nach Art 10 EMRK dar (RNr 100-105) und betont dabei auch, dass eine NGO, wenn sie auf Angelegenheiten von öffentlichem Interesse aufmerksam macht, eine Rolle als "public watchdog" ausübt, die von vergleichbarer Bedeutung wie jene der Presse ist (Urteil Vides Aizsardzības Klubs, RNr 42). Der Beurteilungsspielraum des Staates sei im vorliegenden Kontext daher eng - allerdings nur im Prinzip: "the margin of appreciation to be accorded to the State in the present context is, in principle, a narrow one" (RNr 104).

5. "Vorbemerkungen" - Rechtfertigung einer allgemeinen Maßnahme
Interessant ist, dass der EGMR nicht nur - wie sonst üblich - zwischen den allgemeinen Grundsätzen und ihrer Anwendung auf den konkreten Fall unterscheidet, sondern sich im vorliegenden Fall auch noch zu umfassenden "Vorbemerkungen" (RNr 106-112) veranlasst sieht. Er hebt hervor, dass die Verfahrensparteien darin übereinstimmten, dass politische Werbung durch eine allgemeine Maßnahme geregelt werden könne, dass aber Meinungsdifferenzen zur möglichen Breite dieser Maßnahme bestünden. Wesentlich sei aber, dass eine generelle Maßnahme von einer Vorzensur ("prior restraint") betreffend eine individuelle Äußerung zu unterscheiden ist.

Um die Verhältnismäßigkeit einer Maßnahme zu beurteilen, müssen vor allem die gesetzgeberischen Entscheidungen bewertet werden. Die Qualität der parlamentarischen und gerichtlichen Kontrolle der Notwendigkeit einer Maßnahme ist dabei von besonderer Bedeutung (RNr 108). Je überzeugender die allgemeine Rechtfertigung für die allgemeine Maßnahme ist, desto weniger Bedeutung legt der Gerichtshof ihren Auswirkungen im Einzelfall bei (RNr 109).

Relevant ist dabei nicht, ob weniger strenge Regeln hätten erlassen werden können oder ob gar der Staat beweisen könnte, dass das legitime Ziel ohne Verbot nicht erreicht werden könnte; es geht vielmehr darum, ob der Gesetzgeber durch die Annahme der allgemeinen Maßnahme und damit der mit ihr getroffenen Abwägung innerhalb des ihm zukommenden Beurteilungsspielraums gehandelt hat (RNr 110).

Der EGMR erinnert dann an den Reichtum historischer, kultureller und politischer Unterschiede innerhalb Europas, sodass es an jedem Staat liege, die eigene demokratische Vision zu formen. Aufgrund ihres direkten und ständigen Kontakts mit den wesentlichen Kräften in ihren Ländern, der Gesellschaft und deren Bedürfnissen seien die gesetzgeberischen und gerichtlichen Organe in der besten Position, um die besonderen Schwierigkeiten beim Schutz der demokratischen Struktur in ihren jeweiligen Staaten zu bewerten. Den Staaten müsse bei dieser landesspezifischen und komplexen Bewertung, die im vorliegenden Fall von zentraler Bedeutung für die gesetzgeberischen Entscheidungen ist, ein gewisses Ermessen eingeräumt werden (RNr 111).

Interessant ist, dass der EGMR schon in dieser Vorbemerkung auf eine vorzunehmende Abwägung zwischen dem Recht der NGO auf Informationsweitergabe und dem Wunsch(!) der Behörden nach Schutz der demokratischen Debatte eingeht:
112. Finally, the Court notes that both parties have the same objective namely, the maintenance of a free and pluralist debate on matters of public interest and, more generally, contributing to the democratic process. The Court is required therefore to balance, on the one hand, the applicant NGO’s right to impart information and ideas of general interest which the public is entitled to receive with, on the other, the authorities’ desire to protect the democratic debate and process from distortion by powerful financial groups with advantageous access to influential media. The Court recognises that such groups could obtain competitive advantages in the area of paid advertising and thereby curtail a free and pluralist debate, of which the State remains the ultimate guarantor. Regulation of the broadcasted public interest debate can therefore be necessary within the meaning of Article 10 § 2 of the Convention.
6. Verhältnismäßigkeit - genaue parlamentarische Prüfung
Bei der Beurteilung der Verhältnismäßigkeit der generellen Maßnahme (des allgemeinen Verbots politischer Werbung) betont der EGMR zunächst, dass das Verbot zwar seit den 1950er Jahren besteht, aber die Notwendigkeit durch den Bericht des Committee on Standards in Public Life (Neill Committee) im Jahr 1998 spezifisch geprüft und bestätigt worden sei. In der Folge sei ein Weißbuch, das wieder ein Verbot politischer Werbung enthielt, erarbeitet und zur Konsultation gestellt worden. Die Auswirkungen des EGMR-Urteils VgT aus dem Jahr 2001 seien dann in allen Phasen der Gesetzesvorbereitung geprüft worden. Im Jahr 2002 sei ein Gesetzesentwurf vorgestellt worden, wobei die Erläuterungen wiederum ausführlich auf das Urteil VgT eingingen. Alle konsultierten spezialisierten Einrichtungen seien für die Beibehaltung des Verbots gewesen und hätten die Auffassung vertreten, dass es sich dabei auch im Lichte des VgT-Urteils um eine verhältnismäßige allgemeine Maßnahme handle. Die Regierung habe sogar die von ihr eingeholte rechtliche Begutachtung veröffentlicht. Das Gesetz, das das Verbot enthält, sei schließlich ohne Gegenstimme verabschiedet worden (RNr 114): 
114. [...] The prohibition was therefore the culmination of an exceptional examination by parliamentary bodies of the cultural, political and legal aspects of the prohibition as part of the broader regulatory system governing broadcasted public interest expression in the United Kingdom and all bodies found the prohibition to have been a necessary interference with Article 10 rights.
Diese besondere Kompetenz des Parlaments und die vorherige umfassende Konsultation über die EMRK-Kompatibilität des Verbots erklärt auch die Zurückhaltung der nationalen Richter. Dennoch wurde die Verhältnismäßigkeit von den nationalen Gerichten - die auch das VgT-Urteil zitierten - eingehend erörtert. 
116. The Court, for its part, attaches considerable weight to these exacting and pertinent reviews, by both parliamentary and judicial bodies, of the complex regulatory regime governing political broadcasting in the United Kingdom and to their view that the general measure was necessary to prevent the distortion of crucial public interest debates and, thereby, the undermining of the democratic process.
7. Sinkende Bedeutung der Rundfunkwerbung wegen Internet und sozialen Medien?
Der EGMR hält es weiters für wesentlich, dass das Verbot so umschrieben war, dass es dem Risiko der Verzerrung, die der Staat verhindern wollte, mit der geringst möglichen Beeinträchtigung der Freiheit der Meinungsäußerung begegnen sollte. Das Verbot galt nur der Werbung (wegen deren naturgemäß parteilichen Charakters), der entgeltlichen Werbung (wegen der Gefahr ungleichgewichtigen Zugangs je nach finanziellen Möglichkeiten) und der politischen Werbung (weil diese "das Herz des demokratischen Prozesses" betraf). Außerdem war das Verbot auf bestimmte Medien (Hörfunk und Fernsehen) beschränkt, weil diese die einflussreichsten und teuersten Medien sind. Eine Reihe alternativer Medien sei der beschwerdeführenden NGO zur Verfügung gestanden (RNr 117). 

Das Argument der beschwerdeführenden NGO, die Beschränkung des Verbots auf Hörfunk- und Fernsehwerbung sei angesichts der vergleichbaren Wirkungsmacht neuerer Medien wie des Internet unlogisch, überzeugte den EGMR nicht:
118. [...] However, the Court considers coherent a distinction based on the particular influence of the broadcast media. In particular, the Court recognises the immediate and powerful effect of the broadcast media, an impact reinforced by the continuing function of radio and television as familiar sources of entertainment in the intimacy of the home (Jersild v. Denmark, § 31; Murphy v. Ireland [im Blog dazu hier], § 74; TV Vest [im Blog dazu hier], at § 60; and Centro Europa 7 S.R.L. and Di Stefano v. Italy [im Blog dazu hier], § 132). In addition, the choices inherent in the use of the internet and social media mean that the information emerging therefrom does not have the same synchronicity or impact as broadcasted information. Notwithstanding therefore the significant development of the internet and social media in recent years, there is no evidence of a sufficiently serious shift in the respective influences of the new and of the broadcast media in the respondent State to undermine the need for special measures for the latter.
Dieser Auffassung tritt die zweite, von Richterin Tulkens verfasste abweichende Meinung deutlich entgegen: dort heißt es (RNr 11): 
Information obtained through the use of the Internet and social networks is gradually having the same impact, if not more, as broadcasted information. Their development in recent years undoubtedly signals a sufficiently serious shift in the influence of traditional broadcasting media to undermine the need to apply special measures to the latter.
8. Weitere Abwägung 
Dass Rundfunkwerbung nicht mehr teurer war als Werbung in anderen Medien, mochte die Mehrheit des EGMR nicht glauben: "The Court considers that it is sufficient to note, [...] that broadcasted advertisements had an advantage of which advertisers and broadcasters were aware and for which advertisers would pay large sums of money, far beyond the reach of most NGOs who would wish to participate in the public debate." (RNr 120)

Entgegen der Ansicht der beschwerdeführenden NGO war der EGMR auch nicht der Ansicht, dass die allgemeinen Regeln, wonach vor Wahlen gratis Sendezeit für wahlwerbende Parteien vergeben wird, für den Beschwerdefall nicht relevant wäre: Auch die "kontrollierte Lockerung" des Verbots müsse ein wesentlicher Faktor in der Beurteilung des Gesamtgleichgewichts ("overall balance") sein, das durch die allgemeine Maßnahme erreicht werde (RNr 121). 

Und schließlich sah der EGMR auch keine Verpflichtung des Staates, den Anwendungsbereich des Verbots einzuschränken, um Werbung von Initiativgruppen außerhalb von Wahlzeiten zu erlauben. Auf nationaler Ebene war dazu vor allem auf die Gefahr von Missbrauch und Willkür hingewiesen worden - was der EGMR billigt:  
122. [...] The risk of abuse is to be primarily assessed by the domestic authorities [...] and the Court considers it reasonable to fear that this option would give rise to a risk of wealthy bodies with agendas being fronted by social advocacy groups created for that precise purpose. Financial caps on advertising could be circumvented by those wealthy bodies creating a large number of similar interest groups, thereby accumulating advertising time. The Court also considers rational the concern that a prohibition requiring a case-by-case distinction between advertisers and advertisements might not be a feasible means of achieving the legitimate aim. In particular, having regard to the complex regulatory background, this form of control could lead to uncertainty, litigation, expense and delay as well as to allegations of discrimination and arbitrariness, these being reasons which can justify a general measure [...]. It was reasonable therefore for the Government to fear that the proposed alternative option was not feasible and that it might compromise the principle of broadcasting impartiality, a cornerstone of the regulatory system at issue [...].
9. Kein europäischer Konsens
Der EGMR betont, dass es keinen Konsens der Konventionsstaaten gibt, wie bezahlte politische Werbung zu regulieren sei. Auch wenn es einen Trend weg von breiten Verboten gebe, so bleiben immer noch beträchtliche Unterschiede. Dieser Mangel an Konsens erweitert den Beurteilungsspielraum der Konventionsstaaten (RNr 123).

10. Auswirkungen des Verbots
Die Auswirkungen des Verbots, so der EGMR in RNr 124, überwiegen die überzeugende Rechtfertigung für die allgemeine Maßnahme nicht. Die beschwerdeführende NGO könne an (politischen) Hörfunk- und Fernsehdiskussionen teilnehmen, sie könne - wenn sie eine wohltätige Einrichtung gründe, dafür auch im Fernsehen werben, und sie habe vor allem vollen Zugang für Werbung in allen Medien außer Hörfunk und Fernsehen, also in Presse, Internet (einschließlich social media), Demonstrationen (als Medium!?), Plakate und Flugblätter. 

Und nachdem der EGMR zunächst Internet und soziale Medien als nicht vergleichbar mit Rundfunk abgetan hat, verweist er die beschwerdeführende NGO dann gerade darauf, weil es sich dabei um mächtige Kommunikationswerkzeuge handelt (RNr 124): 
"Even if it has not been shown that the internet, with its social media, is more influential than the broadcast media in the respondent State [...], those new media remain powerful communication tools which can be of significant assistance to the applicant NGO in achieving its own objectives."
11. Ergebnis
Im Ergebnis hält die knappe Mehrheit der Großen Kammer daher die von den Behörden gegebene Begründung für das Verbot als relevant und ausreichend, sodass das Verbot nicht als unverhältnismäßiger Eingriff in das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung anzusehen ist und keine Verletzung des Art 10 EMRK vorliegt. 

12. Zustimmendes Sondervotum von Richter Bratza
Der aus dem Vereinigten Königreich stammende Richter (und frühere EGMR-Präsident) Bratza erklärt seine zustimmende Ansicht in einem ausführlichen Sondervotum. Bemerkenswert an diesem Votum ist vor allem die deutliche Kritik am VgT-Urteil (die im Mehrheitsvotum nicht zum Ausdruck gebracht wurde) und die Betonung der Notwendigkeit einer "klaren Linie" durch eine allgemeine Maßnahme, auch wenn das Festhalten an einer solchen klaren, allgemeinen Regelung eine Härtefall für den einzelnen Betroffenen darstellen kann. Bratza betont auch, dass nur ein Verbot einer bestimmten Art politischer Äußerung (nämlich Werbung) in einem bestimmten Teil der Medien (Rundfunk) zu beurteilen war und Äußerungen anderer Art oder in anderen Medien zulässig blieben. 

Auch Bratza meint, dass die beschwerdeführende NGO nicht gehindert werde, ihre Message im Rundfunk auf andere Art als durch Werbung zu verbreiten, zum Beispiel in dem sie zu aktuellen Sendungen oder Diskussionen beitrage. Diese etwas naive Sicht wird übrigens in der ersten abweichenden Meinung zerpflückt; dort heißt es in RNr 13:
The hope that Animal Defenders International will be able to make their views known thanks to “programming” disregards the reality that broadcasting, and television in particular, is driven by commercial advertising. Programming is a matter of editorial choice and is subject to the need to maximize viewership. Even in the context of public broadcasting, with all its obligations of fairness, there is a strong tendency to avoid divisive or offensive topics. Programming choices are not likely to stand on the side of NGOs which may represent minority or controversial views, or are critical of the Government of the day which has considerable control over public broadcasting, even in the presence of important safeguards as to daily programming.
Nach seiner Kritik am Urteil VgT befasst sich Bratza noch ausführlich mit der Bedeutung der - sorgfältig vorbereiteten - nationalen parlamentarischen Entscheidung, wobei er diesbezüglich auf den Unterschied zum Fall Hirst (No. 2) hinweist, in dem wegen der Verweigerung des Wahlrechts für Strafgefangene eine Verletzung des Art 3 1. ZP EMRK festgestellt wurde, was im Vereinigten Königreich bis heute zu massiver Kritik (bis hin zur Forderung nach dem Austritt aus der EMRK) führt. Im weiteren Text des Sondervotums lobt Bratza noch die Sorgfalt der englischen Richter und betont schließlich, dass der EGMR nicht selbst eine Abwägung vorzunehmen hat und auch nicht seine Auffassung, wie eine faire und handhabbare Kompromisslösung gefunden werden könne, an die Stelle jener des nationalen Gesetzgebers stellen soll. Alles in allem hat man beim Lesen des Sondervotums das Gefühl, dass es sich weniger an die Beschwerdeführerin richtet als vielmehr an den Regierung, Gesetzgeber und Öffentlichkeit im Vereinigten Königreich. 

13. Abweichende Meinung 1: Ziemele (Lettland), Sajó (Ungarn), Kalaydjieva (Bulgarien), Vučinić (Montenegro), De Gaetano (Malta)
Die erste der beiden abweichenden Meinungen ist deutlich libertär ausgerichtet, mit starken Zweifeln an hoheitlich verordneten Einschränkungen, die der Freiheit dienen sollen, und einigen markanten "soundbites", schon von Beginn an, wenn die Unterscheidung zum Fall VgT zum Thema gemacht wird:
We are particularly struck by the fact that when one compares the outcome in this case with the outcome in the case of VgT [...] the almost inescapable conclusion must be that an essentially identical “general prohibition” on “political advertising” [...] is not necessary in Swiss democratic society, but is proportionate and a fortiori necessary in the democratic society of the United Kingdom. We find it extremely difficult to understand this double standard within the context of a Convention whose minimum standards should be equally applicable throughout all the States parties to it.
Die abweichende Meinung wendet sich vor allem gegen den Zugang der Mehrheit, die allgemeine Maßnahme    gewissermaßen in einem milderen Licht zu sehen als individuelle Beschränkungen. Vor allem der besondere Respekt gegenüber dem Gesetzgeber wird in der abweichenden Meinung nicht geteilt: Insbesondere die
9. [...] The fact that a general measure was enacted in a fair and careful manner by Parliament does not alter the duty incumbent upon the Court to apply the established standards that serve for the protection of fundamental human rights. Nor does the fact that a particular topic is debated (possibly repeatedly) by the legislature necessarily mean that the conclusion reached by that legislature is Convention compliant; and nor does such (repeated) debate alter the margin of appreciation accorded to the State. Of course, a thorough parliamentary debate may help the Court to understand the pressing social need for the interference in a given society. In the spirit of subsidiarity, such explanation is a matter for honest consideration. In the present judgment, however, excessive importance has been attributed to the process generating the general measure, which has resulted in the overruling, at least in substance, of VgT, a judgment which inspired a number of member States to repeal their general ban -- a change that was effected without major difficulties.
Die abweichende Meinung sieht ein Verbot politischer Werbung überhaupt als problematisch an: "there seems to be an inherent contradiction in a viable democracy safeguarded by broadcasting restrictions." 
12 [...] There is a risk that by developing the notion of positive obligations to protect the rights under Articles 8 to 11, and especially in the context of Articles 9 to 11, one can lose sight of the fundamental negative obligation of the State to abstain from interfering. The very initiative to legislate on the exercise of freedom in the name of broadcasting freedom, and in order to promote democracy in general terms, and for aims which may not necessarily fully conform to one or more of the legitimate aims of Article 10 § 2, remains problematic. The ban itself creates the condition it is supposedly trying to avert – out of fear that small organisations could not win a broadcast competition of ideas, it prevents them from competing at all. It is one thing to level a pitch; it is another to lock the gates to the cricket field.
Und schließlich wendet sich die abweichende Meinung gegen einen gewissen paternalistischen Zug, den sie in der Mehrheitsmeinung erkennt: 
13. [...] Freedom of expression is based on the assumption that the speakers, not the Government, know best what they want to say and how to say it. [...]
14. There can be no robust democracy through benevolent silencing of all voices (except those of the political parties) and providing access only through programming. A robust democracy is not helped by well‑intentioned paternalism. Where there is little scope for restriction of a right, the proportionality analysis requires consideration of the existence of less restrictive alternatives. An individualised consideration of the proposed advertisement, for example like the one that operates for commercial advertisements, is one such possibility. A narrower definition of political advertisement could be another. Moreover, the respondent Government did not consider the difference between public and private broadcasting, which have different standards of impartiality. 
14. Abweichende Meinung 2: Tulkens (Belgien), Spielmann (Luxemburg), Laffranque (Estland)
Ebenfalls mit der Mehrheit nicht einverstanden ist Richterin Tulkens, der sich Präsident Spielmann und Richterin Laffranque anschließen. Anders als in der ersten - fast radikal libertären - abweichenden Meinung sieht diese Meinung Einschränkungen durchaus als möglich an; sie hält es - wie die Mehrheitsmeinung - auch für notwendig, bei der Beurteilung der Maßnahme das Recht der beschwerdeführenden NGO gegen das Streben nach Schutz der demokratischen Debatte abzuwägen. Eine gewisse Regulierung der Debatte im öffentlichen Interesse in Hörfunk und Fernsehen könne daher im Sinne des Art 10 Abs 2 EMRK notwendig sein. 

Tulkens hält es aber angesichts der vergleichbaren Stärke neuer Medien wie des Internet für unlogisch, das Verbot nur auf Radio und Fernsehen zu beschränken (siehe schon oben 7.). Auch reiche das britische Verbot politischer Werbung weiter als das vom EGMR als exzessiv erachtete Verbot im Fall VgT. Das breite Verbot sei gegen den Trend, der in anderen Konventionsstaaten zu beobachten sei. Weder die gesetzgebenden Körperschaften noch die nationalen Gerichte hätten überzeugende Argumente vorgebracht, warum weniger weitreichende Beschränkungen, wie sie in anderen Staaten bestünden, abzulehnen seien. 

Die beschwerdeführende NGO habe auf eine Angelegenheit von öffentlichem Interesse hingewiesen; niemand habe vorgebracht, dass die Werbung schockierend oder verwerflich gewesen wäre. Das Verbot wurde auch unabhängig von der Identität der Organisation angewandt: niemand hatte behauptet, dass die beschwerdeführende NGO finanzkräftig sei und das Ziel oder die Möglichkeit hätte, die Unparteilichkeit des Rundfunkveranstalters zu gefährden oder die öffentliche Debatte unangemessen zu verzerren (oder dass sie einen Deckmantel für eine derartige mächtige Gruppe gebildet hätte). Die NGO habe nur an einer allgemeinen Debatte über Tierschutz teilnehmen wollen. 
To illustrate the scale of the ban’s effect in the applicant NGO’s case, one need only compare its situation to that of a commercial firm: the latter would have had full freedom, limited only by its financial resources, to screen advertisements using animals to promote its products, an approach directly contrary to the values of the applicant NGO.
15. Auswirkungen?
Das Urteil hat keine unmittelbaren Auswirkungen auf Österreich (politische Fernsehwerbung in Österreich ist grundsätzlich erlaubt; siehe im Blog dazu jüngst hier, gegen Ende). Spannend kann natürlich sein, ob bzw wie weit der EGMR auch in Zukunft - wie hier in der Mehrheitsmeinung - die parlamentarische und außerparlamentarische Vorbereitung von Rechtsvorschriften bei einer Prüfung von Eingriffen in die Rechte nach Art 10 EMRK einbeziehen wird. Da es in Österreich eine gewisse Tradition gibt, Rundfunk-Rechtsvorschriften eher erst in letzter Sekunde - in den Ausschussberatungen oder auch erst durch Änderungsanträge im Plenum des Nationalrates - zu finalisieren, oft ohne besondere Erläuterungen (vor allem, wenn die Änderungen etwa auf Deals Verhandlungsergebnissen, zB von ORF und VÖZ, beruhen), hätte ich aber wenig Hoffnung, dass man zur Verteidigung österreichischer Rechtsvorschriften auf ähnlich umfassendes Material zurückgreifen könnte, wie es im hier entschiedenen Fall möglich war.

Interessant wäre natürlich auch eine Prüfung, inwieweit die neuen ungarischen Regelungen, nach denen politische Werbung nun ausgerechnet in Privatsendern untersagt ist (siehe zB hier und hier), unter Berücksichtigung des heutigen Urteils mit Art 10 EMRK kompatibel sind. Dass der EGMR nun in der Großen Kammer (mit knapper Mehrheit) das Verbot politischer Werbung im Vereinigten Königreich akzeptiert hat, bedeutet aber jedenfalls nicht, dass alle derartigen Verbote zulässig wären (zumal die schon gefällten Urteile VgT und TV Vest jedenfalls formal nicht "overruled" wurden).

March 19 2013

Four short links: 19 March 2013

  1. VizCities Dev Diary — step-by-step recount of how they brought London’s data to life, SimCity-style.
  2. Google Fibre Isn’t That ImpressiveFor [gigabit broadband] to become truly useful and necessary, we’ll need to see a long-term feedback loop of utility and acceptance. First, super-fast lines must allow us to do things that we can’t do with the pedestrian internet. This will prompt more people to demand gigabit lines, which will in turn invite developers to create more apps that require high speed, and so on. What I discovered in Kansas City is that this cycle has not yet begun. Or, as Ars Technica put it recently, “The rest of the internet is too slow for Google Fibre.”
  3. Recommendations on Open SourceUse open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, Web servers, databases and programming languages.
  4. Internet Bad Neighbourhoods (PDF) — bilingual PhD thesis. The idea behind the Internet Bad Neighborhood concept is that the probability of a host in behaving badly increases if its neighboring hosts (i.e., hosts within the same subnetwork) also behave badly. This idea, in turn, can be exploited to improve current Internet security solutions, since it provides an indirect approach to predict new sources of attacks (neighboring hosts of malicious ones).

January 24 2013


David Cameron's EU speech - full text | Politics | 2013-01-23


This morning I want to talk about the future of Europe.

But first, let us remember the past.

Seventy years ago, Europe was being torn apart by its second catastrophic conflict in a generation. A war which saw the streets of European cities strewn with rubble. The skies of London lit by flames night after night. And millions dead across the world in the battle for peace and liberty.

As we remember their sacrifice, so we should also remember how the shift in Europe from war to sustained peace came about. It did not happen like a change in the weather. It happened because of determined work over generations. A commitment to friendship and a resolve never to revisit that dark past – a commitment epitomised by the Elysee treaty signed 50 years ago this week.

After the Berlin Wall came down I visited that city and I will never forget it.

The abandoned checkpoints. The sense of excitement about the future. The knowledge that a great continent was coming together. Healing those wounds of our history is the central story of the European Union.

What Churchill described as the twin marauders of war and tyranny have been almost entirely banished from our continent. Today, hundreds of millions dwell in freedom, from the Baltic to the Adriatic, from the Western Approaches to the Aegean.

And while we must never take this for granted, the first purpose of the European Union – to secure peace – has been achieved and we should pay tribute to all those in the EU, alongside Nato, who made that happen.

But today the main, overriding purpose of the European Union is different: not to win peace, but to secure prosperity.

The challenges come not from within this continent but outside it. From the surging economies in the east and south. Of course a growing world economy benefits us all, but we should be in no doubt that a new global race of nations is under way today.

A race for the wealth and jobs of the future.

The map of global influence is changing before our eyes. And these changes are already being felt by the entrepreneur in the Netherlands, the worker in Germany, the family in Britain.

So I want to speak to you today with urgency and frankness about the European Union and how it must change – both to deliver prosperity and to retain the support of its peoples.

But first, I want to set out the spirit in which I approach these issues.

I know that the United Kingdom is sometimes seen as an argumentative and rather strong-minded member of the family of European nations.

And it's true that our geography has shaped our psychology.

We have the character of an island nation: independent, forthright, passionate in defence of our sovereignty.

We can no more change this British sensibility than we can drain the English Channel.

And because of this sensibility, we come to the European Union with a frame of mind that is more practical than emotional.

For us, the European Union is a means to an end – prosperity, stability, the anchor of freedom and democracy both within Europe and beyond her shores – not an end in itself.

We insistently ask: how, why, to what end?

But all this doesn't make us somehow un-European.

The fact is that ours is not just an island story – it is also a continental story.

For all our connections to the rest of the world – of which we are rightly proud – we have always been a European power, and we always will be.

From Caesar's legions to the Napoleonic wars. From the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution to the defeat of nazism. We have helped to write European history, and Europe has helped write ours.

Over the years, Britain has made her own, unique contribution to Europe. We have provided a haven to those fleeing tyranny and persecution. And in Europe's darkest hour, we helped keep the flame of liberty alight. Across the continent, in silent cemeteries, lie the hundreds of thousands of British servicemen who gave their lives for Europe's freedom.

In more recent decades, we have played our part in tearing down the iron curtain and championing the entry into the EU of those countries that lost so many years to Communism. And contained in this history is the crucial point about Britain, our national character, our attitude to Europe.

Britain is characterised not just by its independence but, above all, by its openness.

We have always been a country that reaches out. That turns its face to the world. That leads the charge in the fight for global trade and against protectionism.

This is Britain today, as it's always been: independent, yes – but open, too.

I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world.

I am not a British isolationist.

I don't just want a better deal for Britain. I want a better deal for Europe too.

So I speak as British prime minister with a positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part.

Some might then ask: why raise fundamental questions about the future of Europe when Europe is already in the midst of a deep crisis?

Why raise questions about Britain's role when support in Britain is already so thin.

There are always voices saying: "Don't ask the difficult questions."

But it's essential for Europe – and for Britain – that we do because there are three major challenges confronting us today.

First, the problems in the eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe.

Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.

If we don't address these challenges, the danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit.

I do not want that to happen. I want the European Union to be a success. And I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.

That is why I am here today: to acknowledge the nature of the challenges we face. To set out how I believe the European Union should respond to them. And to explain what I want to achieve for Britain and its place within the European Union.

Let me start with the nature of the challenges we face.

First, the eurozone.

The future shape of Europe is being forged. There are some serious questions that will define the future of the European Union – and the future of every country within it.

The union is changing to help fix the currency – and that has profound implications for all of us, whether we are in the single currency or not.

Britain is not in the single currency, and we're not going to be. But we all need the eurozone to have the right governance and structures to secure a successful currency for the long term.

And those of us outside the eurozone also need certain safeguards to ensure, for example, that our access to the single market is not in any way compromised.

And it's right we begin to address these issues now.

Second, while there are some countries within the EU which are doing pretty well. Taken as a whole, Europe's share of world output is projected to fall by almost a third in the next two decades. This is the competitiveness challenge – and much of our weakness in meeting it is self-inflicted.

Complex rules restricting our labour markets are not some naturally occurring phenomenon. Just as excessive regulation is not some external plague that's been visited on our businesses.

These problems have been around too long. And the progress in dealing with them, far too slow.

As Chancellor Merkel has said, if Europe today accounts for just over 7% of the world's population, produces around 25% of global GDP and has to finance 50% of global social spending, then it's obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.

Third, there is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to people rather than acting on their behalf. And this is being intensified by the very solutions required to resolve the economic problems.

People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.

We are starting to see this in the demonstrations on the streets of Athens, Madrid and Rome. We are seeing it in the parliaments of Berlin, Helsinki and the Hague.

And yes, of course, we are seeing this frustration with the EU very dramatically in Britain.

Europe's leaders have a duty to hear these concerns. Indeed, we have a duty to act on them. And not just to fix the problems in the eurozone.

For just as in any emergency you should plan for the aftermath as well as dealing with the present crisis, so too in the midst of the present challenges we should plan for the future, and what the world will look like when the difficulties in the eurozone have been overcome.

The biggest danger to the European Union comes not from those who advocate change, but from those who denounce new thinking as heresy. In its long history Europe has experience of heretics who turned out to have a point.

And my point is this. More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the eurozone. More of the same will not see the European Union keeping pace with the new powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the European Union any closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same: less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs.

And that will make our countries weaker not stronger.

That is why we need fundamental, far-reaching change.

So let me set out my vision for a new European Union, fit for the 21st century.

It is built on five principles.

The first: competitiveness. At the core of the European Union must be, as it is now, the single market. Britain is at the heart of that single market, and must remain so.

But when the single market remains incomplete in services, energy and digital – the very sectors that are the engines of a modern economy – it is only half the success it could be.

It is nonsense that people shopping online in some parts of Europe are unable to access the best deals because of where they live. I want completing the single market to be our driving mission.

I want us to be at the forefront of transformative trade deals with the US, Japan and India as part of the drive towards global free trade. And I want us to be pushing to exempt Europe's smallest entrepreneurial companies from more EU directives.

These should be the tasks that get European officials up in the morning – and keep them working late into the night. And so we urgently need to address the sclerotic, ineffective decision-making that is holding us back.

That means creating a leaner, less bureaucratic union, relentlessly focused on helping its member countries to compete.

In a global race, can we really justify the huge number of expensive peripheral European institutions?

Can we justify a commission that gets ever larger?

Can we carry on with an organisation that has a multibillion pound budget but not enough focus on controlling spending and shutting down programmes that haven't worked?

And I would ask: when the competitiveness of the single market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council but not a single market council?

The second principle should be flexibility.

We need a structure that can accommodate the diversity of its members – north, south, east, west, large, small, old and new. Some of whom are contemplating much closer economic and political integration. And many others, including Britain, who would never embrace that goal.

I accept, of course, that for the single market to function we need a common set of rules and a way of enforcing them. But we also need to be able to respond quickly to the latest developments and trends.

Competitiveness demands flexibility, choice and openness – or Europe will fetch up in a no-man's land between the rising economies of Asia and market-driven North America.

The EU must be able to act with the speed and flexibility of a network, not the cumbersome rigidity of a bloc.

We must not be weighed down by an insistence on a one size fits all approach which implies that all countries want the same level of integration. The fact is that they don't and we shouldn't assert that they do.

Some will claim that this offends a central tenet of the EU's founding philosophy. I say it merely reflects the reality of the European Union today. 17 members are part of the eurozone. 10 are not.

26 European countries are members of Schengen – including four outside the European Union – Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Two EU countries – Britain and Ireland – have retained their border controls.

Some members, like Britain and France, are ready, willing and able to take action in Libya or Mali. Others are uncomfortable with the use of military force.

Let's welcome that diversity, instead of trying to snuff it out.

Let's stop all this talk of two-speed Europe, of fast lanes and slow lanes, of countries missing trains and buses, and consign the whole weary caravan of metaphors to a permanent siding.

Instead, let's start from this proposition: we are a family of democratic nations, all members of one European Union, whose essential foundation is the single market rather than the single currency. Those of us outside the euro recognise that those in it are likely to need to make some big institutional changes.

By the same token, the members of the eurozone should accept that we, and indeed all member states, will have changes that we need to safeguard our interests and strengthen democratic legitimacy. And we should be able to make these changes too.

Some say this will unravel the principle of the EU – and that you can't pick and choose on the basis of what your nation needs.

But far from unravelling the EU, this will in fact bind its members more closely because such flexible, willing co-operation is a much stronger glue than compulsion from the centre.

Let me make a further heretical proposition.

The European treaty commits the member states to "lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe".

This has been consistently interpreted as applying not to the peoples but rather to the states and institutions compounded by a European court of justice that has consistently supported greater centralisation.

We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective.

And we would be much more comfortable if the treaty specifically said so, freeing those who want to go further, faster, to do so, without being held back by the others.

So to those who say we have no vision for Europe, I say we have.

We believe in a flexible union of free member states who share treaties and institutions and pursue together the ideal of co-operation. To represent and promote the values of European civilisation in the world. To advance our shared interests by using our collective power to open markets. And to build a strong economic base across the whole of Europe.

And we believe in our nations working together to protect the security and diversity of our energy supplies. To tackle climate change and global poverty. To work together against terrorism and organised crime. And to continue to welcome new countries into the EU.

This vision of flexibility and co-operation is not the same as those who want to build an ever closer political union – but it is just as valid.

My third principle is that power must be able to flow back to member states, not just away from them. This was promised by European leaders at Laeken a decade ago.

It was put in the treaty. But the promise has never really been fulfilled. We need to implement this principle properly.

So let us use this moment, as the Dutch prime minister has recently suggested, to examine thoroughly what the EU as a whole should do and should stop doing.

In Britain we have already launched our balance of competences review – to give us an informed and objective analysis of where the EU helps and where it hampers.

Let us not be misled by the fallacy that a deep and workable single market requires everything to be harmonised, to hanker after some unattainable and infinitely level playing field.

Countries are different. They make different choices. We cannot harmonise everything. For example, it is neither right nor necessary to claim that the integrity of the single market, or full membership of the European Union requires the working hours of British hospital doctors to be set in Brussels irrespective of the views of British parliamentarians and practitioners.

In the same way we need to examine whether the balance is right in so many areas where the European Union has legislated including on the environment, social affairs and crime.

Nothing should be off the table.

My fourth principle is democratic accountability: we need to have a bigger and more significant role for national parliaments.

There is not, in my view, a single European demos.

It is national parliaments, which are, and will remain, the true source of real democratic legitimacy and accountability in the EU.

It is to the Bundestag that Angela Merkel has to answer. It is through the Greek parliament that Antonis Samaras has to pass his government's austerity measures.

It is to the British parliament that I must account on the EU budget negotiations, or on the safeguarding of our place in the single market.

Those are the parliaments which instil proper respect – even fear – into national leaders.

We need to recognise that in the way the EU does business.

My fifth principle is fairness: whatever new arrangements are enacted for the eurozone, they must work fairly for those inside it and out.

That will be of particular importance to Britain. As I have said, we will not join the single currency. But there is no overwhelming economic reason why the single currency and the single market should share the same boundary, any more than the single market and Schengen.

Our participation in the single market, and our ability to help set its rules is the principal reason for our membership of the EU.

So it is a vital interest for us to protect the integrity and fairness of the single market for all its members.

And that is why Britain has been so concerned to promote and defend the single market as the eurozone crisis rewrites the rules on fiscal co-ordination and banking union.

These five principles provide what, I believe, is the right approach for the European Union.

So now let me turn to what this means for Britain.

Today, public disillusionment with the EU is at an all-time high. There are several reasons for this.

People feel that the EU is heading in a direction that they never signed up to. They resent the interference in our national life by what they see as unnecessary rules and regulation. And they wonder what the point of it all is.

Put simply, many ask "why can't we just have what we voted to join – a common market?"

They are angered by some legal judgements made in Europe that impact on life in Britain. Some of this antipathy about Europe in general really relates of course to the European court of human rights, rather than the EU. And Britain is leading European efforts to address this.

There is, indeed, much more that needs to be done on this front. But people also feel that the EU is now heading for a level of political integration that is far outside Britain's comfort zone.

They see treaty after treaty changing the balance between member states and the EU. And note they were never given a say.

They've had referendums promised – but not delivered. They see what has happened to the euro. And they note that many of our political and business leaders urged Britain to join at the time.

And they haven't noticed many expressions of contrition.

And they look at the steps the eurozone is taking and wonder what deeper integration for the eurozone will mean for a country which is not going to join the euro.

The result is that democratic consent for the EU in Britain is now wafer-thin.

Some people say that to point this out is irresponsible, creates uncertainty for business and puts a question mark over Britain's place in the European Union.

But the question mark is already there and ignoring it won't make it go away.

In fact, quite the reverse. Those who refuse to contemplate consulting the British people, would in my view make more likely our eventual exit.

Simply asking the British people to carry on accepting a European settlement over which they have had little choice is a path to ensuring that when the question is finally put – and at some stage it will have to be – it is much more likely that the British people will reject the EU.

That is why I am in favour of a referendum. I believe in confronting this issue – shaping it, leading the debate. Not simply hoping a difficult situation will go away.

Some argue that the solution is therefore to hold a straight in-out referendum now.

I understand the impatience of wanting to make that choice immediately.

But I don't believe that to make a decision at this moment is the right way forward, either for Britain or for Europe as a whole.

A vote today between the status quo and leaving would be an entirely false choice.

Now – while the EU is in flux, and when we don't know what the future holds and what sort of EU will emerge from this crisis – is not the right time to make such a momentous decision about the future of our country.

It is wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before we have had a chance to put the relationship right.

How can we sensibly answer the question "in or out" without being able to answer the most basic question: "What is it exactly that we are choosing to be in or out of?"

The European Union that emerges from the eurozone crisis is going to be a very different body. It will be transformed perhaps beyond recognition by the measures needed to save the eurozone.

We need to allow some time for that to happen – and help to shape the future of the European Union, so that when the choice comes it will be a real one.

A real choice between leaving or being part of a new settlement in which Britain shapes and respects the rules of the single market but is protected by fair safeguards, and free of the spurious regulation which damages Europe's competitiveness.

A choice between leaving or being part of a new settlement in which Britain is at the forefront of collective action on issues like foreign policy and trade and where we leave the door firmly open to new members.

A new settlement subject to the democratic legitimacy and accountability of national parliaments where member states combine in flexible co-operation, respecting national differences not always trying to eliminate them and in which we have proved that some powers can in fact be returned to member states.

In other words, a settlement which would be entirely in keeping with the mission for an updated European Union I have described today. More flexible, more adaptable, more open – fit for the challenges of the modern age.

And to those who say a new settlement can't be negotiated, I would say listen to the views of other parties in other European countries arguing for powers to flow back to European states.

And look too at what we have achieved already. Ending Britain's obligation to bail out eurozone members. Keeping Britain out of the fiscal compact. Launching a process to return some existing justice and home affairs powers. Securing protections on banking union. And reforming fisheries policy.

So we are starting to shape the reforms we need now. Some will not require treaty change.

But I agree too with what President Barroso and others have said. At some stage in the next few years the EU will need to agree on treaty change to make the changes needed for the long-term future of the euro and to entrench the diverse, competitive, democratically accountable Europe that we seek.

I believe the best way to do this will be in a new treaty so I add my voice to those who are already calling for this.

My strong preference is to enact these changes for the entire EU, not just for Britain.

But if there is no appetite for a new treaty for us all then of course Britain should be ready to address the changes we need in a negotiation with our European partners.

The next Conservative manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next parliament.

It will be a relationship with the single market at its heart.

And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice. To stay in the EU on these new terms, or come out altogether.

It will be an in-out referendum.

Legislation will be drafted before the next election. And if a Conservative government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year. And we will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next parliament.

It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.

I say to the British people: this will be your decision.

And when that choice comes, you will have an important choice to make about our country's destiny.

I understand the appeal of going it alone, of charting our own course. But it will be a decision we will have to take with cool heads. Proponents of both sides of the argument will need to avoid exaggerating their claims.

Of course Britain could make her own way in the world, outside the EU, if we chose to do so. So could any other member state.

But the question we will have to ask ourselves is this: is that the very best future for our country?

We will have to weigh carefully where our true national interest lies.

Alone, we would be free to take our own decisions, just as we would be freed of our solemn obligation to defend our allies if we left Nato. But we don't leave Nato because it is in our national interest to stay and benefit from its collective defence guarantee.

We have more power and influence – whether implementing sanctions against Iran or Syria, or promoting democracy in Burma – if we can act together.

If we leave the EU, we cannot of course leave Europe. It will remain for many years our biggest market, and forever our geographical neighbourhood. We are tied by a complex web of legal commitments.

Hundreds of thousands of British people now take for granted their right to work, live or retire in any other EU country.

Even if we pulled out completely, decisions made in the EU would continue to have a profound effect on our country. But we would have lost all our remaining vetoes and our voice in those decisions.

We would need to weigh up very carefully the consequences of no longer being inside the EU and its single market, as a full member.

Continued access to the single market is vital for British businesses and British jobs.

Since 2004, Britain has been the destination for one in five of all inward investments into Europe.

And being part of the single market has been key to that success.

There will be plenty of time to test all the arguments thoroughly, in favour and against the arrangement we negotiate. But let me just deal with one point we hear a lot about.

There are some who suggest we could turn ourselves into Norway or Switzerland – with access to the single market but outside the EU. But would that really be in our best interests?

I admire those countries and they are friends of ours – but they are very different from us. Norway sits on the biggest energy reserves in Europe, and has a sovereign wealth fund of over €500bn. And while Norway is part of the single market – and pays for the principle – it has no say at all in setting its rules. It just has to implement its directives.

The Swiss have to negotiate access to the single market sector by sector, accepting EU rules – over which they have no say – or else not getting full access to the single market, including in key sectors like financial services.

The fact is that if you join an organisation like the European Union, there are rules.

You will not always get what you want. But that does not mean we should leave – not if the benefits of staying and working together are greater.

We would have to think carefully too about the impact on our influence at the top table of international affairs.

There is no doubt that we are more powerful in Washington, in Beijing, in Delhi because we are a powerful player in the European Union.

That matters for British jobs and British security.

It matters to our ability to get things done in the world. It matters to the United States and other friends around the world, which is why many tell us very clearly that they want Britain to remain in the EU.

We should think very carefully before giving that position up.

If we left the European Union, it would be a one-way ticket, not a return.

So we will have time for a proper, reasoned debate.

At the end of that debate you, the British people, will decide.

And I say to our European partners, frustrated as some of them no doubt are by Britain's attitude: work with us on this.

Consider the extraordinary steps which the eurozone members are taking to keep the euro together, steps which a year ago would have seemed impossible.

It does not seem to me that the steps which would be needed to make Britain – and others – more comfortable in their relationship in the European Union are inherently so outlandish or unreasonable.

And just as I believe that Britain should want to remain in the EU so the EU should want us to stay.

For an EU without Britain, without one of Europe's strongest powers, a country which in many ways invented the single market, and which brings real heft to Europe's influence on the world stage, which plays by the rules and which is a force for liberal economic reform would be a very different kind of European Union.

And it is hard to argue that the EU would not be greatly diminished by Britain's departure.

Let me finish today by saying this.

I have no illusions about the scale of the task ahead.

I know there will be those who say the vision I have outlined will be impossible to achieve. That there is no way our partners will co-operate. That the British people have set themselves on a path to inevitable exit. And that if we aren't comfortable being in the EU after 40 years, we never will be.

But I refuse to take such a defeatist attitude – either for Britain or for Europe.

Because with courage and conviction I believe we can deliver a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union in which the interests and ambitions of all its members can be met.

With courage and conviction I believe we can achieve a new settlement in which Britain can be comfortable and all our countries can thrive.

And when the referendum comes let me say now that if we can negotiate such an arrangement, I will campaign for it with all my heart and soul.

Because I believe something very deeply. That Britain's national interest is best served in a flexible, adaptable and open European Union and that such a European Union is best with Britain in it.

Over the coming weeks, months and years, I will not rest until this debate is won. For the future of my country. For the success of the European Union. And for the prosperity of our peoples for generations to come.

December 01 2012

Selbst- und Ko-Regulierung: Anmerkung aus Anlass des Leveson-Reports

"An inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press": das war der Auftrag für die im Juli 2011 vom Premierminister des Vereinigten Königreichs eingesetzte Untersuchungskommission unter dem Vorsitz von Lord Justice Leveson, die nun - am 29.11.2012 - den Abschlussbericht veröffentlicht hat. Dieser "Leveson-Report" umfasst vier Teile (1, 2, 3, 4) mit insgesamt rund 2000 Seiten und eine Zusammenfassung mit Empfehlungen (executive summary); die Rede von Leveson LJ bei der Vorstellung des Berichts ist hier nachzulesen.

Ich habe dieser Tage einfach nicht so viel Freizeit, dass ich den gesamten Bericht lesen und mich dann hier im Blog auch noch näher damit auseinandersetzen könnte, daher verweise ich zur Übersicht - abgesehen von Leveson's eigener Zusammenfassung - auf die Berichterstattung auf Inforrm's Blog und den Podcast "Without Prejudice", unter anderem mit den Bloggern Carl Gardner und David Allen Green. Wer es ganz eilig hat: Stewart Purvis vom Guardian hat es geschafft, die 2000 Seiten des Leveson-Reports in 70 Worten zusammenzufassen. Emily Bell (The Leveson inquiry is irrelevant to 21st-century journalism) kritisiert die Vernachlässigung des Internets im Leveson-Bericht, Carl Gardner (We must have statutory regulation - and liberation - of the press) schrieb schon einen Tag vor der Veröffentlichung des Berichts einen bemerkenswerten Beitrag über die lange Geschichte der Probleme mit der Selbstregulierung, und Edward Craven (Leveson: One last chance for press self-regulation? A summary of the proposals) fasst die Vorschläge zur Selbstregulierung zusammen.

Vieles am Bericht ist natürlich nur vor dem Hintergrund der unmittelbaren Anlassfälle (Abhören von Mailboxen von Verbrechensopfern wie auch von Prominenten) und der spezifisch britischen Medien- und Medienrechtssituation zu verstehen. Aber Fragen zum Naheverhältnis zwischen Politik und Presse (dazu im Band 3 ab S. 1115) und zur "Regulierung" und/oder "Selbstregulierung" der Presse sind auch über die Insel hinaus von Interesse.

Was immer man auch vom Inhalt des Berichts halten mag: eine ähnlich seriöse und akribische Aufarbeitung des erteilten Auftrags würde man sich auch für andere Untersuchungen wünschen, insbesondere natürlich für den ziemlich unrühmlich - und ohne schriftlichen Abschlussbericht - zu Ende gegangenen Korruptions-Untersuchungsausschuss des österreichischen Nationalrats (die Leveson-Inquiry war allerdings keine parlamentarische, sondern eine vom Premierminister eingesetzte Untersuchung unter der Leitung eines erfahrenen Berufsrichters).

Modul 4 der Untersuchung waren "Recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards". Dass die Selbstregulierung der Presse gescheitert war, zeigt auch der Leveson-Bericht deutlich auf (siehe die Darlegung ab S. 1515 im Band 4). Vor allem die mangelnde Unabhängigkeit der Press Complaints Commission - die noch vor wenigen Jahren vielfach (etwa auch bei der Eröffnungsveranstaltung des neuen österreichischen Presserats) als vorbildhaft hingestellt wurde - wird im Bericht massiv kritisiert; so heißt es auf S. 1520 zB:
A profound lack of any functional or meaningful independence from the industry that the PCC claimed to regulate lay at the heart of the failure of the system of self-regulation for the press. Independence operates at two levels, one of perception and the other of substance. In terms of perception, just as judges cannot in any sense be perceived as being judges in their own cause, or appearing to be biased or otherwise interested in the outcome, a regulator must be so constituted as to satisfy every reasonable complainant that he or she will receive a fair hearing in all respects and at all levels. In terms of substance, a regulator will not be free to do its job properly if tied functionally to the entities it is regulating. Further, there is a not insubstantial risk that, if those that are being regulated take the view that they are being judged by fierce competitors for whom they have neither trust nor respect (even if there is a majority of lay members of the Commission), they will not regard the discharge of the regulator’s duties in the correct light.
Auch die PCC selbst bestreitet übrigens nicht mehr, dass sie ihren eigenen Ansprüchen nicht gerecht wurde (sie will aber keine neu zu schaffende Einrichtung unter allfälliger Aufsicht einer Regulierungsbehörde, sondern - so der Vorsitzende Lord Hunt in seiner Reaktion auf den Leveson-Bericht - bloß einen "fresh start").

In seinen Empfehlungen für eine neue Form der Selbstregulierung versucht Leveson einen Mittelweg zwischen reiner Selbstregulierung und verstärkter öffentlicher Kontrolle. In seinem Modell (siehe S. 32-38 der Zusammenfassung bzw ab S. 1583 in Band 4) soll zwar eine von der Presse organisierte Selbstregulierungseinrichtung bestehen, in deren Entscheidungsgremium Pressevertreter aber nur eine Minderheit stellen. Zudem soll die Selbstregulierungseinrichtung von der Regulierungsbehörde (Ofcom) sozusagen "zertifiziert" werden (die Regulierungsbehörde soll prüfen, ob die Selbstregulierungseinrichtung alle Kriterien erfüllt, die in einem dafür erst zu erstellenden Gesetz festgelegt werden sollen). Die Selbstregulierungseinrichtung sollte auch in der Lage sein, Sanktionen zu verhängen (de facto wären das "Geldstrafen", die als Vertragsstrafen beim Beitritt zu dieser Einrichtung vereinbart werden müssten).

Da der große Charme von reinen Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen aus der Sicht der jeweiligen Branche aber gerade eben darin liegt, dass sich die Branche selbst ausmacht, wie streng sie zu sich sein will, überrascht es nicht wirklich, dass die britische Presse (und auch Premierminister Cameron) überwiegend ablehnend auf die Leveson-Vorschläge reagiert hat.

Nach den im deutschen Sprachraum üblichen Kriterien kann man beim Leveson-Modell auch nicht mehr von Selbstregulierung im engeren Sinne sprechen, zumal die Branche nicht selbst - durch eine Mehrheit von Pressevertretern im Entscheidungsgremium - über Verstöße gegen ihre ethischen Standards urteilen könnte (auch Leveson geht immerhin davon aus, dass es solche ethischen Standards geben könnte). Da es nach dem Leveson-Modell eine gesetzliche Grundlage für die Anerkennung der Einrichtung geben soll, würde man im aktuellen wissenschaftlichen Jargon eher von "Ko-Regulierung" oder - was noch skurriler klingt (und ist) - von "regulierter Selbstregulierung" sprechen. Zu beachten ist freilich, dass für "Selbstregulierung" im UK eine rechtlich wesentlich andere Ausgangssituation besteht (siehe allgemein dazu etwa Mac Sithigh, Datafin to Virgin Killer: Self-Regulation and Public Law, oder Black, Constitutionalising Self-Regulation); das Konzept einer "mandated self-regulation" etwa ist in Österreich praktisch unbekannt (wenn man nicht die berufliche Selbstverwaltung etwa in den Kammern in diese Richtung verstehen will).

Weder der Presserat (auch nicht der deutsche oder der schweizerische Presserat) noch der Werberat könnten übrigens auch nur annähernd jene Kriterien der Unabhängigkeit erfüllen, wie sie Leveson für sein Modell fordert, ganz abgesehen davon, dass es in Österreich derzeit auch keine behördliche Anerkennung oder Zertifizierung von Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen durch Regulierungsbehörden gibt (allerdings geht § 39 Abs 4 KommAustria-Gesetz ein wenig in diese Richtung, dazu weiter unten mehr).

Ist Ko-Regulierung besser als Selbstregulierung?
Verschiedene Veröffentlichungen und Vorträge haben mir den Ruf eingetragen, der Selbstregulierung eher kritisch gegenüberzustehen. So habe ich etwa in meinem Referat auf dem Österreichischen Juristentag 2009 (Thesenpapier; Referat nur in Print veröffentlicht) zusammenfassend festgehalten:
Selbstregulierung kann notwendige Regulierungsmaßnahmen zur Gefahrenabwehr nie ersetzen. Wo es aber keine Regulierung braucht, braucht es auch keine Selbstregulierung. In der Regel aber wird Selbstregulierung zumindest nicht schaden - es sei denn, sie entwickelt sich zum Kartell, das ja gewissermaßen die vollendete Form der Selbstregulierung einer Branche darstellt.
Ich habe aber gar nichts gegen Selbstregulierung, wohl aber dagegen, dass Politik und Wirtschaft Selbstregulierung oft als Wundermittel zur Problemlösung verkaufen wollen (die Politik kann Aktivität zeigen, spart sich aber das mühsame eigene Handeln; die Wirtschaft kann damit wirksame Regulierung verhindern oder zumindest verzögern). Meines Erachtens wäre aber - ganz abstrakt gesehen - die Entscheidungssituation für den Gesetzgeber (oder sonstigen Normsetzer) relativ einfach:
  • Entweder es gibt eine Gefahr (zB für Gesundheit, Sicherheit, lauteren Wettbewerb, Privatsphäre, etc), die rechtspolitisch als so gravierend bewertet wird, dass staatliche Maßnahmen zur Gefahrenabwehr geboten sind: dann muss man diese Maßnahmen ergreifen und kann sich nicht auf Selbstregulierung oder ähnliche Wundermittel verlassen - denn hätten diese funktioniert, gäbe es die Gefahr gar nicht.
  • Oder aber es gibt keine Gefahr: sei es, weil Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen funktioniert haben oder aus welchem anderen Grund auch immer. In diesem Fall braucht man weder einen staatlichen Eingriff zur Gefahrenabwehr, noch müsste man sich - von der gesetzgeberischen Seite - mit Fragen der Selbstregulierung beschäftigen; denn wozu auch, wenn es keine zu bekämpfende Gefahr gibt?
Damit sollte sich Selbstregulierung immer unter dem gesetzgeberischen Radar bewegen - sie ist schlicht für die Legistik nicht relevant, weder wenn sie funktioniert (dann braucht man nicht einzugreifen), noch wenn sie nicht funktioniert (dann kann man sich auch nicht auf sie verlassen). Das bedeutet nicht, dass man Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen (wie etwa den österreichischen Presserat oder den Werberat) nicht fördern kann oder vielleicht auch fördern soll: wenn Selbstregulierung so gut funktioniert, dass sonst notwendige staatliche Maßnahmen zur Gefahrenabwehr vermieden werden können, ergibt das - auch ökonomisch - Sinn (und sonst fördert man zumindest eine weitgehend harmlose Freizeitbeschäftigung).

Wirklich kritisch aber sehe ich gerade die derzeit eher propagierte "Ko-Regulierung" oder "regulierte Selbstregulierung", bei der Entscheidungen von Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen als Anknüpfungspunkt für staatliches Handeln dienen sollen. In solchen Fällen ist es nämlich nicht mehr irrelevant, wie die Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen zusammengesetzt sind oder welche Verfahrensregeln zur Anwendung kommen. Knüpft man beispielsweise - wie dies derzeit in Österreich diskutiert wird - die (Höhe der) Presseförderung an die Mitgliedschaft in einer Selbstregulierungseinrichtung, so wird man auch klarere Anforderungen an diese Selbstregulierungseinrichtung stellen müssen (insbesondere etwa im Hinblick auf die Unabhängigkeit des Entscheidungsorgans von den "regulierten" Unternehmen [siehe zur - mangelnden - Unabhängigkeit des österreichischen Presserats im Blog zB schon hier]).

Eine nur von der Branche getragene und von ihr maßgeblich bestimmte Einrichtung der Selbstregulierung, die im Ergebnis Standards auch gegenüber ihr nicht angehörenden Unternehmen und/oder gar gegenüber der Öffentlichkeit - zB bei der Presse gegenüber Opfern Objekten der Berichterstattung - setzen könnte, wäre jedenfalls schon unter dem Gesichtspunkt des Rechtsschutzes in höchstem Maße fragwürdig. Knüpft nämlich hoheitliches Handeln an Entscheidungen von Selbstverwaltungseinrichtungen an, so müssten wohl vergleichbare Standards gelten wie bei der nach österreichischem Verfassungsrecht zulässigen beruflichen Selbstverwaltung, die aber - vereinfacht gesagt - nur Angelegenheiten jener Personen regeln darf, die in der Selbstverwaltungskörperschaft auch mitstimmen können (in den Worten des Verfassungsgerichtshofes, zuletzt etwa zur Kärntner Jägerschaft: es ist "unzulässig, eine Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts zwar als Selbstverwaltungskörper einzurichten, ihr aber die Zuständigkeit zu übertragen, auch solche Angelegenheiten - unter Einsatz von imperium - weisungsungebunden zu besorgen, die sich auf einen Personenkreis beziehen, der von jenem verschieden ist, der den Organen des Selbstverwaltungskörpers die erforderliche demokratische Legitimation vermittelt, also bei der Kreation (zumindest) des obersten Organs dieses Selbstverwaltungskörpers mitwirken konnte.")-

Ko-Regulierung als Hybrid zwischen Selbstregulierung und staatlicher Regulierung vereint die Nachteile beider Systeme: sie knüpft an der informellen und weitgehend beliebigen und/oder interessegeleiteten Selbstregulierung an und verhilft ihr durch staatliche Machtmittel zu einer ihr aus eigenem nicht zukommenden Durchsetzungskraft. Wenn aber Selbstregulierung einer Branche nicht von sich aus - und ohne staatliche Gewalt in der Hinterhand - so gut funktioniert, dass eine ausreichende Gefahrenabwehr sichergestellt ist, dann gibt es auch keinen Grund dafür, sich bei der dann notwendigen staatlichen Gefahrenabwehr auf die (offensichtlich nicht ausreichend funktionierende) Selbstregulierung abzustützen und so der staatlichen Regulierung noch die Hände zu binden. Zudem müsste die Selbstregulierungseinrichtung, wenn ihre Entscheidungen Konsequenzen für staatliches Handeln haben, in höherem Ausmaß formalisiert und vor allem in eine ausreichende Unabhängigkeit entlassen werden, was die Attraktivität für die "regulierte" Branche deutlich verringert.

Damit wäre ich wieder bei meinem Ausgangspunkt: entweder es gibt eine Gefahr, der im öffentlichen Interesse entgegenzutreten ist, dann muss diese öffentliche Aufgabe durch wirksames demokratisch legitimiertes (also staatliches) Handeln wahrgenommen werden. Oder aber es besteht keine (aktuelle) Gefahr, dann kann und soll Selbstregulierung tun und lassen, was sie will, ohne dass sich der Staat dabei einzumischen hat. Von einer Vermischung der beiden Welten - Selbstregulierung und staatliche Regulierung - würde ich abraten; wirklich gut funktionierende Ko-Regulierungssysteme sind mir jedenfalls in Kontinentaleuropa nicht bekannt.

Ko-Regulierung am Beispiel § 39 Abs 4 KommAustria-Gesetz
Dass die Verzahnung von Selbstregulierung und staatlicher Regulierung mehr Probleme als Lösungen schafft, zeigt meines Erachtens auch der erste Ansatz zur Ko-Regulierung in Österreich, der mit der Rundfunkrechtsnovelle 2010 geschaffen wurde. § 39 Abs 4 KommAustria-Gesetz lautet:
"(4) Bei der Beurteilung von behaupteten Verletzungen der werberechtlichen Bestimmungen der §§ 34, 37 bis 42 und 46 AMD-G sowie des 3. Abschnitts des ORF-Gesetzes ist auf die Spruchpraxis allgemein anerkannter unabhängiger Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen Bedacht zu nehmen. Als allgemein anerkannte Selbstregulierungseinrichtungen gelten insbesondere solche, die eine breite Repräsentanz der betroffenen Berufsgruppen und hinreichende Transparenz im Hinblick auf Entscheidungsgrundlage, Verfahren und Durchsetzung von Entscheidungen gewährleisten."
Die Erläuterungen sagen dazu: "Die Anpassung in Abs. 4 dient der Anerkennung der Selbstregulierung; von Relevanz könnte die Spruchpraxis etwa dann sein, wenn es um die Beurteilung subjektiv vorwerfbaren Verhaltens im Rahmen eines Verwaltungsstrafverfahrens geht (z.B. wenn ein Straftatbestand etwa trotz einer Entscheidung der Selbstregulierungseinrichtung fortgesetzt wird)."
Nun meine ich erstens, dass die Berücksichtigung eher dort von Relevanz sein könnte, wo nicht trotz, sondern wegen einer Entscheidung der Selbstregulierungseinrichtung das Verhalten fortgesetzt wird (zB wenn die Selbstregulierungseinrichtung meint, dass eine Werbung noch zulässig sei, während die Behörde später zur gegenteiligen Meinung kommt; für den Jugendschutzbereich gibt es zu einer vergleichbaren Situation schon zumindest einen Beispielsfall aus Deutschland, wo keine Strafe verhängt wurde, weil die Selbstregulierungseinrichtung - anders als später die Behörde - keine Einwendungen hatte).

Zweitens stellt sich die Frage, wo in Österreich eine derartige Selbstregulierungseinrichtung zu finden sein könnte. In Betracht kommt realistisch nur der Österreichische Werberat (der laut Kommunikationsbericht 2011, S. 87, in den Jahren 2010 und 2011 auch tatsächlich mit jeweils € 50.000 gefördert wurde). Der Werberat hat sich in den letzten Jahren zweifellos Mühe gegeben, etwas moderner zu werden und auch eine Spur transparenter, aber das Entscheidungsgremium ist immer noch zu rund drei Viertel von der Werbewirtschaft - Medien, Agenturen und Auftraggeber - dominiert (und unter dem verbleibenden Viertel von Mitgliedern befindet sich noch immer ein gewisser "Prof. Hademar Bankhofer, c/o TV-Gesundheitsexperte", dessen Erfahrungen im Schleichwerbungsbereich in diesem Blog schon thematisiert wurden). Ob dieser Werberat also tatsächlich "allgemein anerkannt" und "unabhängig" ist?

Berücksichtigt man zudem, dass die österreichische Regelung der Umsetzung von Art 4 Abs 7 der Richtlinie über audiovisuelle Mediendienste dient, so ergeben sich noch größere Zweifel über die "allgemeine Anerkennung" des Werberates. Die Richtlinienbestimmung lautet:
"Die Mitgliedstaaten fördern Regelungen zur Koregulierung und/oder Selbstregulierung auf nationaler Ebene in den durch diese Richtlinie koordinierten Bereichen in dem nach ihrem jeweiligen Rechtssystem zulässigen Maße. Diese Regelungen müssen derart gestaltet sein, dass sie von den Hauptbeteiligten in den betreffenden Mitgliedstaaten allgemein anerkannt werden und dass eine wirksame Durchsetzung gewährleistet ist."
Anders als der österreichische Gesetzgeber, der von den "betroffenen Berufsgruppen" spricht, nennt die Richtlinie die "Hauptbeteiligten" - was nicht nur die Anbieterseite, sondern auch die Marktgegenseite (KonsumentInnen) umfasst. Dass aber der Werberat auch von Konsumentenseite "allgemein anerkannt" würde, dürfte meines Erachtens keineswegs feststehen. Aber wie auch immer: § 39 Abs 4 KommAustria-Gesetz dürfte bislang weitgehend totes Recht sein (mir ist jedenfalls kein Fall bekannt, in dem auf diese Bestimmung Bezug genommen wurde) - und vielleicht ist das auch besser so.

October 02 2012


Eric Hobsbawm obituary | Books | The Guardian

Historian in the Marxist tradition with a global reach
Eric hobsbawm
Eric Hobsbawm became Britain's most respected historian. Photograph: Karen Robinson

Had Eric Hobsbawm died 25 years ago, the obituaries would have described him as Britain's most distinguished Marxist historian and would have left it more or less there. Yet by the time of his death at the age of 95, he had achieved a unique position in the country's intellectual life. In his later years he became arguably Britain's most respected historian of any kind, recognised if not endorsed on the right as well as the left, and one of a tiny handful of historians of any era to enjoy genuine national and world renown.

Unlike some others, Hobsbawm achieved this wider recognition without in any major way revolting against either Marxism or Marx. In his 94th year he published How to Change the World, a vigorous defence of Marx's continuing relevance in the aftermath of the banking collapse of 2008-10. What is more, he achieved his culminating reputation at a time when the socialist ideas and projects that animated so much of his writing for well over half a century were in historic disarray, and worse – as he himself was always unflinchingly aware.

In a profession notorious for microscopic preoccupations, few historians have ever commanded such a wide field in such detail or with such authority. To the last, Hobsbawm considered himself to be essentially a 19th-century historian, but his sense of that and other centuries was both unprecedentedly broad and unusually cosmopolitan.

The sheer scope of his interest in the past, and his exceptional command of what he knew, continued to humble many, most of all in the four-volume Age of... series, in which he distilled the history of the capitalist world from 1789 to 1991. "Hobsbawm's capacity to store and retrieve detail has now reached a scale normally approached only by large archives with big staffs," wrote Neal Ascherson. Both in his knowledge of historic detail and in his extraordinary powers of synthesis, so well displayed in that four-volume project, he was unrivalled.

Hobsbawm was born in Alexandria, a good place for a historian of empire, in 1917, a good year for a communist. He was second-generation British, the grandson of a Polish Jew and cabinet-maker who came to London in the 1870s. Eight children, who included Leopold, Eric's father, were born in England and all took British citizenship at birth (Hobsbawm's Uncle Harry in due course became the first Labour mayor of Paddington).

But Eric was British of no ordinary background. Another uncle, Sidney, went to Egypt before the first world war and found a job there in a shipping office for Leopold. There, in 1914, Leopold Hobsbawm met Nelly Gruen, a young Viennese from a middle-class family who had been given a trip to Egypt as a prize for completing her school studies. The two got engaged, but the first world war broke out and they were separated. The couple eventually married in Switzerland in 1916, returning to Egypt for the birth of Eric, their first child.

"Every historian has his or her lifetime, a private perch from which to survey the world," he said in his 1993 Creighton lecture, one of several occasions in his later years when he attempted to relate his own lifetime to his own writing. "My own perch is constructed, among other materials, of a childhood in the Vienna of the 1920s, the years of Hitler's rise in Berlin, which determined my politics and my interest in history, and the England, and especially the Cambridge, of the 1930s, which confirmed both."

In 1919, the young family settled in Vienna, where Eric went to elementary school, a period he later recalled in a 1995 television documentary which featured pictures of a recognisably skinny young Viennese Hobsbawm in shorts and knee socks. Politics made their impact around this time. Eric's first political memory was in Vienna in 1927, when workers burned down the Palace of Justice. The first political conversation that he could recall took place in an Alpine sanatorium in these years, too. Two motherly Jewish women were discussing Leon Trotsky. "Say what you like," said one to the other, "but he's a Jewish boy called Bronstein."

In 1929 his father died suddenly of a heart attack. Two years later his mother died of TB. Eric was 14, and his Uncle Sidney took charge once more, taking Eric and his sister Nancy to live in Berlin. As a teenager in Weimar Republic Berlin, Eric inescapably became politicised. He read Marx for the first time, and became a communist.

He could always remember the day in January 1933 when, emerging from the Halensee S-Bahn station on his way home from his school, the celebrated Prinz Heinrich Gymnasium, he saw a newspaper headline announcing Hitler's election as chancellor. Around this time he joined the Socialist Schoolboys, which he described as "de facto part of the communist movement" and sold its publication, Schulkampf (School Struggle). He kept the organisation's duplicator under his bed and, if his later facility for writing was any guide, probably wrote most of the articles too. The family remained in Berlin until 1933, when Sidney Hobsbawm was posted by his employers to England.

The gangly teenage boy who settled with his sister in Edgware in 1934 described himself later as "completely continental and German speaking". School, though, was "not a problem" because the English education system was "way behind" the German. A cousin in Balham introduced him to jazz for the first time – the "unanswerable sound", he called it. The moment of conversion, he wrote some 60 years later, was when he first heard the Duke Ellington band "at its most imperial". He spent a period in the 1950s as jazz critic of the New Statesman, and published a Penguin Special, The Jazz Scene, on the subject in 1959 under the pen-name Francis Newton (many years later it was reissued with Hobsbawm identified as the author).

Learning to speak English properly, Eric became a pupil at Marylebone grammar school and in 1936 he won a scholarship to King's College, Cambridge. It was at this time that a saying became common among his Cambridge communist friends: "Is there anything that Hobsbawm doesn't know?" He became a member of the legendary Cambridge Apostles. "All of us thought that the crisis of the 1930s was the final crisis of capitalism," he wrote 40 years later. But, he added, "it was not."

When the second world war broke out, Hobsbawm volunteered, as many communists did, for intelligence work. But his politics, which were never a secret, led to rejection. Instead he became an improbable sapper in 560 Field Company, which he later described as "a very working-class unit trying to build some patently inadequate defences against invasion on the coasts of East Anglia". This, too, was a formative experience for the often aloof young intellectual prodigy. "There was something sublime about them and about Britain at that time," he wrote. "That wartime experience converted me to the British working class. They were not very clever, except for the Scots and Welsh, but they were very, very good people."

Hobsbawm married his first wife, Muriel Seaman, in 1943. After the war, returning to Cambridge, he made another choice, abandoning a planned doctorate on north African agrarian reform in favour of research on the Fabians. It was a move that opened the door to both a lifetime of study of the 19th century and an equally long-lasting preoccupation with the problems of the left. In 1947 he got his first tenured job, as a history lecturer at Birkbeck College, London, where he was to remain for much of his teaching life.

With the onset of the cold war, a very British academic McCarthyism meant that the Cambridge lectureship which Hobsbawm always coveted never materialised. He shuttled between Cambridge and London, one of the principal organisers and driving forces of the Communist Party Historians Group, a glittering radical academy which brought together some of the most prominent historians of the postwar era. Its members also included Christopher Hill, Rodney Hilton, AL Morton, EP Thompson, John Saville and, later, Raphael Samuel. Whatever else it achieved, the CP Historians Group, about which Hobsbawm wrote an authoritative essay in 1978, certainly provided a nucleus for many of his first steps as a major historical writer.

Hobsbawm's first book, Labour's Turning Point (1948), an edited collection of documents from the Fabian era, belongs firmly to this CP-dominated era, as does his engagement in the once celebrated "standard of living" debate about the economic consequences of the early industrial revolution, in which he and RM Hartwell traded arguments in successive numbers of the Economic History Review. The foundation of the Past and Present journal – now the most lasting, if fully independent, legacy of the Historians Group – also belongs to this period.

Hobsbawm was never to leave the Communist party and always thought of himself as part of an international communist movement. For many, this remained the insuperable obstacle to an embrace of his writing. Yet he always remained very much a licensed free-thinker within the party's ranks. Over Hungary in 1956, an event which split the CP and drove many intellectuals out of the party, he was a voice of protest who nevertheless remained.

Yet, as with his contemporary, Christopher Hill, who left the CP at this time, the political trauma of 1956 and the start of a lastingly happy second marriage combined in some way to trigger a sustained and fruitful period of historical writing that was to establish fame and reputation. In 1959 he published his first major work, Primitive Rebels, a strikingly original account, particularly for those times, of southern European rural secret societies and millenarian cultures (he was still writing about the subject as recently as 2011). He returned to these themes again a decade later in Captain Swing, a detailed study of rural protest in early 19th-century England co-authored with George Rudé, and Bandits, a more wide-ranging attempt at synthesis. These works are reminders that Hobsbawm was both a bridge between European and British historiography and a forerunner of the notable rise of the study of social history in post-1968 Britain.

By this time, though, Hobsbawm had already published the first of the works on which both his popular and academic reputations still rest. A collection of some of his most important essays, Labouring Men, appeared in 1964 (a second collection, Worlds of Labour, was to follow 20 years later). But it was Industry and Empire (1968), a compelling summation of much of his work on Britain and the industrial revolution, that achieved the highest esteem. It has rarely been out of print.

Even more influential in the long term was the Age of… series, which he began in 1962 with The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848. This was followed in 1975 by The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 and in 1987 by The Age of Empire: 1875-1914. A fourth volume, The Age of Extremes: 1914-91, more quirky and speculative but in some respects the most remarkable and admirable of all, extended the sequence in 1994.

The four volumes embodied all of Hobsbawm's best qualities – the sweep combined with the telling anecdote and statistical grasp, the attention to the nuance and significance of events and words, and above all, perhaps, the unrivalled powers of synthesis (nowhere better displayed than in a classic summary of mid-19th century capitalism on the very first page of the second volume). The books were not conceived as a tetralogy, but as they appeared, they acquired individual and cumulative classic status. They were an example, Hobsbawm wrote, of "what the French call 'haute vulgarisation'" (he did not mean this self-deprecatingly), and they became, in the words of one reviewer, "part of the mental furniture of educated Englishmen".

Hobsbawm's first marriage had collapsed in 1951. During the 1950s, he had another relationship which resulted in the birth of his first son, Joss Bennathan, but the boy's mother did not want to marry. In 1962 he married again, this time to Marlene Schwarz, of Austrian descent. They moved to Hampstead and bought a small second home in Wales. They had two children, Andrew and Julia.

In the 1970s, Hobsbawm's widening fame as a historian was accompanied by a growing reputation as a writer about his own times. Though he had a historian's respect for the Communist party's centralist discipline, his intellectual eminence gave him an independence that won the respect of communism's toughest critics, such as Isaiah Berlin. It also ensured him the considerable accolade that not one of his books was ever published in the Soviet Union. Thus armed and protected, he ranged fearlessly across the condition of the left, mostly in the pages of the CP's monthly, Marxism Today, the increasingly heterodox publication of which he became the house deity.

His conversations with the Italian communist – and now state president – Giorgio Napolitano date from these years, and were published as The Italian Road to Socialism. But his most influential political work centred on his increasing certainty that the European labour movement had ceased to be capable of bearing the transformational role assigned to it by earlier Marxists. These uncompromisingly revisionist articles were collected under the general heading The Forward March of Labour Halted.

By 1983, when Neil Kinnock became the leader of the Labour party at the depth of its electoral fortunes, Hobsbawm's influence had begun to extend far beyond the CP and deep into Labour itself. Kinnock publicly acknowledged his debt to Hobsbawm and allowed himself to be interviewed by the man he described as as "my favourite Marxist". Though he strongly disapproved of much of what later took shape as "New Labour", which he saw, among other things, as historically cowardly, he was without question the single most influential intellectual forerunner of Labour's increasingly iconoclastic 1990s revisionism.

His status was underlined in 1998, when Tony Blair made him a Companion of Honour, a few months after Hobsbawm celebrated his 80th birthday. In its citation, Downing Street said Hobsbawm continued to publish works that "address problems in history and politics that have re-emerged to disturb the complacency of Europe".

In his later years, Hobsbawm enjoyed widespread reputation and respect. His 80th and 90th birthday celebrations were attended by a Who's Who of leftwing and liberal intellectual Britain. Throughout the late years, he continued to publish volumes of essays, including On History (1997) and Uncommon People (1998), works in which Dizzy Gillespie and Salvatore Giuliano sat naturally side by side in the index as testimony to the range of Hobsbawm's abiding curiosity. A highly successful autobiography, Interesting Times, followed in 2002, and Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism in 2007.

More famous in his extreme old age than probably at any other period of his life, he broadcast regularly, lectured widely and was a regular performer at the Hay literary festival, of which he became president at the age of 93, following the death of Lord Bingham of Cornhill. A fall in late 2010 severely reduced his mobility, but his intellect and willpower remained unvanquished, as did his social and cultural life, thanks to Marlene's efforts, love – and cooking.

That his writings continued to command such audiences at a time when his politics were in some ways so eclipsed was the kind of disjunction which exasperated rightwingers, but it was a paradox on which the subtle judgment of this least complacent of intellects feasted. In his later years, he liked to quote EM Forster that he was "always standing at a slight angle to the universe". Whether the remark says more about Hobsbawm or about the universe was something that he enjoyed disputing, confident in the knowledge that it was in some senses a lesson for them both.

He is survived by Marlene and his three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm, historian, born 9 June 1917; died 1 October 2012

September 27 2012

August 02 2012

July 16 2012



Stevan Harnad, professor of electronics and computer science at Southampton University, said the government was facing an expensive bill in supporting gold open access over the green open access model.

He said UK universities and research funders had been leading the world in the movement towards "green" open access that requires researchers to self-archive their journal articles on the web, and make them free for all.

"The Finch committee's recommendations look superficially as if they are supporting open access, but in reality they are strongly biased in favour of the interests of the publishing industry over the interests of UK research," he said.

"Instead of recommending that the UK build on its historic lead in providing cost-free green open access, the committee has recommended spending a great deal of extra money — scarce research money — to pay publishers for "gold open access publishing. If the Finch committee recommendations are heeded, as David Willetts now proposes, the UK will lose both its global lead in open access and a great deal of public money — and worldwide open access will be set back at least a decade," he said.

Free access to British scientific research within two years | Science | The Guardian 2012-07-15
Reposted bypaket paket

May 04 2012

Top Stories: April 30-May 4, 2012

Here's a look at the top stories published across O'Reilly sites this week.

The U.K.'s battle for open standards
Influence, money, a bit of drama — not things you typically associate with open standards, yet that's what the U.K. government is facing as it evaluates open options.

Mobile web development isn't slowing down
Over the last two years, mobile web development has continued its rapid evolution. In this interview, Fluent speaker and "Programming the Mobile Web" author Maximiliano Firtman discusses the short-term changes that caught his attention.

Editorial Radar: Functional languages
O'Reilly editors Mike Loukides and Mike Hendrickson discuss the advantages of functional programming languages and how functional language techniques can be deployed with almost any language.

Jason Grigsby and Lyza Danger Gardner on mobile web design
In this Velocity podcast, the co-authors of "Head First Mobile Web" discuss mobile website optimization, mobile design considerations, and common mobile development mistakes.

Parliament / Big Ben photo: UK parliament by Alan Cleaver, on Flickr

Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond — Explore the changing worlds of JavaScript & HTML5 at the O'Reilly Fluent Conference, May 29 - 31 in San Francisco. Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR20.

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