Press regulations: freedom of the press; protection for victims

March 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

A decision on what form the new press regulation will take has been reached between the country’s three major political parties.

Announced earlier this week, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour agreed that an independent body will be set up by royal charter, and will have the powers to impose fines of up to £1million. The body will have regulation over newspapers, magazines and news-related websites, although it will not extend to opinion and commentary blogs.

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Teenage Curfews – Right? Fair? Effective?

March 12, 2013 § 2 Comments

The imposition of a curfew is dreaded by all teenagers. A fixed time when they have to be home by, curtailing hanging out with their friends. It’s the cause of friction between many young adults and their parents. But a host of towns throughout Switzerland have taken the idea of curfews to a whole other level – by local councils.

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Same day visa for businessmen but students still struggle

February 21, 2013 § 2 Comments

David Cameron has announced the creation of a same-day visa service for senior business executives, in an attempt to open up Britain to growing overseas economies, such as India.

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Wear can wear the trousers – but are we truly equal?

February 7, 2013 § 2 Comments

Parisian women are finally, legally, allowed to wear trousers after the French government overturned a 213-year-old ban on the fairer sex wearing the traditionally male attire.

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French Intervention in Mali: Counter-terrorism? Neo-colonialism? Mineral-sourcing?

January 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

In an effort to rid Mali of al-Qaeda rebels, French and Malian troops have entered the town of Diabaly, after three days of air strikes.

French involvement in their former colony comes after Mali’s president, Dioncounda Traore, asked the United Nations and France to help rid the country of Islamist militants, who staged a coup in the North of the country last March. In response the UN Security Council called for a “rapid deployment” of international forces, with Security Council President Masood Khan stating that the deterioration of the situation in Mali constituted a “direct threat to international peace and security”.

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To walk or not to walk?

January 10, 2013 § 5 Comments

Should footballers who are faced with racism from opposition players and fans in the crowd walk off the pitch?

That is the question the football world is faced with after Thursday’s abandoned friendly between AC Milan and Pro Patria. AC Milan player Kevin Prince Boateng, a Ghana international, left the field in the 26th minute after being subjected to racist chants from the crowd.

Boateng picked up the ball and threw it in the section of the crowd from where the chants came before taking off his shirt and walking off the pitch, followed by the rest of his team and match officials.

In an interview with CNN, Boateng said he wouldn’t hesitate to repeat his actions if faced with racial abuse in other matches: “I don’t care what game it is – a friendly, Italian league or Champions League match – I would walk off again.” Boateng’s actions have received huge support from fellow players, managers and anti-racism campaigners.

Plenty of Support

Former Italian Prime Minister and Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has expressed his approval of his team’s action: “I am very happy with Milan’s reaction and be assured that in all games where we experience episodes of this kind, Milan will leave the field.”

Praise has also been given by Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination group Fare: “We salute Kevin-Prince Boateng for his actions and his team-mates for their support. This is the not the first time a player has walked off in Italy – if the situation continues it may not be the last.”

Warning Caution

However, not everyone feels that walking off the pitch is the right way to take a stand against racism. Fifa president Sepp Blatter stated that players should not leave the pitch if faced with racism, saying, “Walk off? That’s not the solution.” Blatter insists the only way to solve football’s problem with racism is to be “very harsh with the sanctions – and the sanctions must be a deduction of points or something similar.”

Former AC Milan player Clarence Seedorf has said that racism won’t be eliminated from football by players walking off the pitch: “I don’t see it as such a positive thing because [it] empowers more and more of this behaviour.” Instead, he believes in identifying those who are expressing racist views and removing them from the stadium.

However, whether players agree with Boateng’s decision or not, the fact remains that currently players are warned off taking drastic action over racial abuse by the threat of red cards and suspension.

The UEFA suspended two black English players during England’s Under 21 match against Serbia last year for reacting angrily to the crowd after suffering abuse from the crowd and assaults from Serbian players. Instead of taking matters in their hands players are encouraged to leave the issue to the referees.

What’s the solution?

So if fines and suspensions are consistently failing to produce any change in football’s problem with racism and players are punished for walking off the pitch, what is the solution?

Aditya Bajaj from Indian football news site, Goal, suggests that teams whose fans are guilty of racism should be suspended from the competition, or at the very least docked points.

Not only will this have an immediate impact on clubs themselves, but also on their fans – the people who by buying tickets and attending matches make football a lucrative sport. It will also help make fans responsible for eliminating racism from the beautiful game.

It may be an extreme suggestion, but with nothing else working, perhaps it’s worth considering.

Originally written and published for Mouth London.

Anti-gay marriage protests in France

November 23, 2012 § 4 Comments

It’s a country famous for the infamous Moulin Rouge and raunchy can-can shows, but it seems the French public are less open to the idea of gay marriage.

In the past week over 70,000 people took to the streets of Paris – with smaller demonstrations in Lyon, Toulouse and Marseille – protesting against the government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage and to allow gay couples to adopt.

Protesters at the march in Paris, which was organised by the Catholic group Civitas, clashed with controversial Ukrainian group Femen, who support gay rights. Femen activities turned up topless, chanted “in gay we trust” and sprayed white powder from bottles. In response, anti-gay marriage protesters struck the activists, pushing them to the ground.

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