Monday, October 29, 2007

Significance of Privacy

Though I fully realize that the McKennit vs. Ash case is finished, the issues on 'privacy' and 'non-privacy within our societal structure of every day living should not be discounted.

I've sought to provide an opportunity for individuals to openly express their opinions on such issues.

In regards to the latter, I'm surprised at the deplorable lack of interest that has been shown towards these two issues. At this point, I'm wondering if Loreena McKennitt's messages have fallen upon deaf ears. Surely, there must have been a stronger underlying meaning to her statements than just her stance towards her own right to privacy.

I believe that 'Privacy' should be a societal matter not to be taken lightly, as it effects us in every strata of life, whether in the present, or within relative upcoming future events.

To what parameter/margin or degree should 'privacy' be respected, before these thresholds are nonchalantly shuffled aside with 'non-privacy' being allowed to take over?

If privacy can't begin to be respected now, what will humanity's future come to be?

"Privacy" touches many domains in our societal structure. It is one of the most significant ingredients in upholding and maintaining equilibrium in the whole of humanity's rights to personal freedom.

Without 'Privacy' , chaos is inevitable.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Now for the 'Nitty Gritty' - Invitation to Mr. Roy Greenslade

Mr. Roy Greenslade -

I cordially invite you to answer the questions which were brought to your attention by Loreena McKennitt, as your reputation as a 'professional' is at stake. I, for one, would like to know of your opinions and answers to her questions.

Below is a partial 'Question List', as I'm sure you are very well acquainted with. The 'Comments' Section" is open at your liberty.

So that only your answers appear, I will carefully 'screen' the Comments area of this post. Thank you.


"Since Mr Greenslade is regarded as a media expert, perhaps in serving the public's interest I could invite him to clarify his position regarding the following questions.

1. In so far as the judge found Ms Ash prone to lie and that her public interest defence rested on a fabricated story regarding a property dispute of some years ago and in which Ms Ash furnished "beefed up" witness statements, (November 2005 judgment para 106-128) why was this information never spoken to by Mr Greenslade in his numerous articles covering the case?

2. Even though Ms Ash had signed a confidentiality agreement as an employee, and admits in both versions of her book that I "cherished my privacy and reputation," she is now seen to have adopted a similar strategy as she did during the above property dispute of 2001, i.e to deliberately set out to damage my privacy and reputation through the threat of publicity. To make his point, in para 120, Justice Eady quotes a letter Ms Ash sends her solicitor at the time, whereby Ms Ash writes,
"As you know Loreena is not concerned about money, nor friendship, her main vulnerability is her reputation, which she guards jealously, and this is our strongest bargaining point".
Justice Eady goes on to say, "It is quite clear that this is why the "primary contention" was adopted of pretending that the original advance had been a gift. It was hoped that the fear of publicity would deter Ms McKennitt from insisting upon her rights."

Given that the judge made clear that Ms Ash was prepared to lie regarding this matter, that her likely motivation for the book was her unhappiness with the property settlement and her tool was a threat of publicity, why did Mr Greenslade not speak to Ms Ash' s motivation? Did he not feel it in the public's interest to know?

3. Mr Greenslade has indicated that he has read both books which include intimate details of a period of bereavement after the loss of my fiancÚ. It is his view that there is nothing here that should be regarded as private. The judge on the other hand found much of this material "remarkably intrusive" as did the Court of Appeal. (see Court of Appeal judgment) In so far as there is a difference of opinion between Justice Eady, the three judges of the Court of Appeal and Mr Greenslade, on what basis would Mr Greenslade suggest this difference of opinion be resolved? In what way is revealing a person's grieving process serving the true public interest and not simply their prurient curiosity? Why has he never mentioned the issue of my bereavement as material I sought to keep private?

4. In the interests of factual and balanced journalism , what efforts did Mr Greenslade make to ensure his position was well founded whilst knowing that the courts frown on litigants speaking with and through the press? In what ways had he undertaken steps to ensure that both sides of the story were properly represented? What duty does he feel to his readership to ensure that his position was well researched?

5. Could Mr Greenslade speak to how his history with tabloids may have coloured his approach to this story?

6. The right to privacy is enshrined in both the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. How does Mr Greenslade characterise the value of privacy? Can he speak to the difference between secrecy, privacy and simply living one's life relatively unobserved? Is the implication of his writing on this case such that the quality of privacy should only be available for anonymous individuals? Is he advocating the elimination of the right to privacy found in the aforementioned declarations and conventions altogether? And if not, what kind and degree of privacy would he like to see afforded well known people and why?

7. In so far as Mr Greenslade is himself a well known person, does he value his privacy and what steps does he take, if any, to protect it and why? For example, in so far as activities undertaken in people's homes are common place and to some, rather anodyne, would he mind if there was a web cam placed in his home and broadcast on the internet for the world to see and if so why or why not? Would he agree to he and his family being followed through the street night and day , on his holidays, to his doctor's appointments? If not, why?

8. Could Mr Greenslade please explain in what way the outcome of this case has compromised the capacity for reporters and journalists to pursue matters of true public interest and not simply serving their prurient curiosity?

9. As the trend for 'celebrity' content grows wider, what does Mr Greenslade have to offer veteran reporters like the one from the BBC whom I met in Los Angeles this spring, who had just returned from covering the conflict in Iraq for the past 5 years, only to be re-assigned to cover David Beckham and Paris Hilton in Los Angeles? What are the broader implications for reporters and journalists such as this reporter and the kind of content some editors cause them and the public to focus on?

10. At a time when certain media outlets pay paparazzi exorbitant amounts of money for 'exclusive' and personal photos, could Mr Greenslade explain how these photos are in the true public's interest and not simply their own commercial interests?

11. Could Mr Greenslade speak to the disintegration of the media's economic model and the role this is playing in causing some media to procure cheap content through the building and sustaining of the factory of "celebrity news?". Could he please speak to what he knows about the revenue generated from what one could call "celebrity trolling" and what percentage of revenue is generated through this content stream at the Guardian?

12. If it is accepted that significant commerce surrounds the collating of this kind of information, in a case like mine in which the media tried to intervene at the Court of Appeal stage, when a conflict arises, how does the media determine whose interest to serve, their own or the public's?

13. What are Mr Greenslade's comments on the Information Commissioner's report "What Price Privacy?" At a time when there have been journalist/reporters sent to jail for illegally wiretapping the royal household's telephones (and broadcasters are found fixing game shows,) what mechanisms should be in place to protect the public's interest? Does he think an organisation such as the PCC is sufficient given that the head of it has written his own tell-all book and some could argue, as an organisation, has been only reluctantly responsive to many unwarranted intrusions on the private lives of well known people?

14. Given that some individuals like Ms Ash and some media outlets share an interest in trading on the privacy and reputation of well known people, and given that some media not only misrepresented this case to the public, but one could argue encouraged her obsessions, and given that the media tried to insert itself into the Court of Appeal process in support of her application, what response does Mr Greenslade have to the tax payers of England who, along with myself ended up shouldering the financial burden of this pursuit and who may feel it has been artificially and negligently sustained at their expense?

15. What substantiation would Mr Greenslade have to support Ms Ash's assertion she was penniless, when she and her husband were found trying to sell two of their properties this past spring in the region of 900,000 pounds?

16. Does Mr Greenslade ever worry that if the commercial media is not held accountable in a meaningful way there will be fewer people of integrity who will bother to assume public positions or adopt professions which have public dimensions to them ?

17. In so far as freedom of expression is felt not just by expressing one's opinion, but by the scale of which that opinion is heard, would Mr Greenslade work with his editor to share these concerns with the Guardian's larger readership and enter into a true debate about the accountability of the media?

I accept that it would have taken some investment in time doing research, fact checking, studying the judgements and perhaps speaking to some legal experts to truly have a grasp on this case, but I do feel it is the true quid pro quo that we as a society should expect of our media if they are expecting us to endow them with the carte blanche of unfettered freedom of expression and free speech.
In paragraphs 91-92 ,of his November 2005 judgment, Justice Eady addresses Ms Ash's nature.
(para 91) "One of the difficulties about Ms Ash's evidence, and the presentation of her case as an advocate in person, is that she is not capable of standing back and making any kind of dispassionate or objective assessment of her motivation or of the consequences of what she has done. She is clearly resentful towards Ms McKennitt and finds it difficult to move on from the breakdown in that relationship."
(para 92) "Indeed, Mr Browne has submitted that Ms Ash's preoccupation with Ms McKennitt and her activities and her somewhat obsessive attitude towards her is borne out by the curious remark which she made while Ms McKennitt was in the witness box:
"I am going to say most of my book is almost a love letter to Ms McKennitt".
In the end, one cannot see this story evolution over time, as anything but one of relentless pursuit by a person seeking their own fame and encouraged by some media who have a vested interest.We all know by now that much of the world's media is owned and controlled by private and commercially driven interests, and that their business model is floundering .
In this day and age it takes two to tango as it pertains to all of this 'celebrity' business. In other words, if it was not in the media's interests to build and trade in "celebrity' gossip, they would not do so and they would leave every publicity seeking individual to wallow in their own obscurity.
At a time when an inquiry will once again review the role of the paparazzi in the death of Lady Diana, when commercial interests such as Google are placing ever increasing pressures on what is or is not acceptable in our society as it pertains to surveillance and the 'right to know'; when we are at the early days of understanding the consequences of entities such as Facebook , the concern for privacy and our ability to live our lives without undue and relentless observation ,is going to be increasingly the domain of "anonymous folk' and not just the well known.
In closing, I would like to leave you with a quote from a recently published book called 'Media Freedom under the Human Right's Act' by Fenwick and Phillipson, a book the consortium of media interests ironically tried to rely upon in their submission to the Court of Appeal in this case.
"The media often appear Janus-faced: on the one hand, they can be characterised as the fearless guardians of the people as watch-dogs and safeguarding democracy... ...On the other hand, the media are prepared on occasions to tear lives apart by invading privacy, or destroying reputations, and (more rarely) to render fair criminal trials impossible, through prejudicial coverage, often largely or wholly motivated by commercial concerns."
And in this regard, it is my opinion, that we do need to concern ourselves more with the mechanics and ownership of our media , how they influence our societies, our opinions, our laws and indeed our democracies. And this should be the real debate falling out from this privacy case.

Loreena McKennitt

Friday, October 19, 2007

Symposium / Chatroom

I've decided to integrate a "Real-Time" Symposium/Chatroom for those whom are interested in discussing the issues relative to this blog, without having to type in any comments. I like to provide 'choices'.

This option can be located in the upper-right corner of this blog in the Navbar. One will need Java to have access into the Symposium.

As one can see, I am preparing my 'little hovel' to invite Mr. Greenslade over. I cannot be a Ms. Malaprop.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blogger Side Notes

As already stipulated in my very first post, I sensed that this issue was far from over. Perhaps I did not fully clarify what I meant by this.

I sense that many individuals would still like to discuss their opinions not only re the McKennitt vs. Ash case, but share their thoughts on 'Privacy vs. Non-Privacy'.

I do want this to be a 'productive blog' where everyone would have equal opportunity to relieve themselves of residual urges to comment further.

I must also include that, another tangible reason as to why I decided to open this blog, was with the hope that those who had more on their minds to comment upon, could be re-directed here, allowing other areas to continue their normal flow of daily energies.

Though people have been offered the option to write to Quinlan Road and to address their issues there re the McKennitt vs. Ash case, I sense these beautiful souls (Quinlan Road Staff) must have their hands really busy with all the details relative to the Tour agenda. Naturally, it's anyone's choice to either go there or here, or both.

I think the issue of privacy vs. non-privacy should be primarily addressed. It's not just about McKennitt vs. Ash.

If needed, I think that "Privacy vs. Non-Privacy" as the absolute title to the blog, instead of "McKennitt vs. Ash", would be a better title. The McKennitt vs. Ash issue could be cited as an 'example'. Time will tell how this works out.

Note: I have tested and checked the "Comments" section, as I previously thought that only '5 comments' would be attributed per post, but after testing I discovered that this is a fallacy. Comments can be posted at a much greater number.

As well, Blogger offers individual "links" for each post. Which is a plus, as one can keep abreast with whatever Comments are following to any post simply by taking its individual link and placing this in their own 'address bar'.

Once again, I expect that all Comments will be civil. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Food for Thought...

Many have wondered why I'm such a 'staunch advocator of privacy'. Believe me, I've had my fill of inquisitions. It never ceases to surprise me why some individuals will go to great lengths to ask questions they know the answers to in advance. Is it just that they wish to test my principles and desire to note my reaction? Does it not dawn upon their minds that I'm fully capable of understanding the sincerety - if any - to their questions, aside from another set of ideas which may be totally different in the back of their head?

Alas, that contemplation by itself renders answers. We all know that we're living on an ever-changing world, where humanity is constantly being motivated and catapulted into different areas of self-discovery. It's human nature to explore. What we do with what we find is another story altogether. At this point, some might think, "Where is she leading with this?". Ahhh, patience grasshopper.

In the beginning, the caveman peeked into another cave and got bopped on the head. And sticks and stones served the justice. The message was clear: "Stay out of my hovel and my business". Hence, it's human nature to protect what we deem significant to our personal existences.

We will now fast-forward into an era where our innate curiosities have unfolded us into whole new different neighborhoods of realities and concepts. The soul/spirit/mind have become new platforms where many seek to investigate. Unfortunately, not without much respect as they delude themselves into believing that this is an 'open-field without red traffic lights'. Nyette! If anything, these areas are even more sacred.

Invasion of privacy starts slowly. For those that cannot begin to respect the 'physical privacy' of another person's physical events, then what would stop their immoral behaviour from doing the same course of action in areas deemed or considered to be more sacred? Would they stop at the threshold and ask "permission" to enter? Or would they think, "Hey! I have an ability to spy on someone else's mind and I can get away with it, because there are no laws here, and I will go tell everyone about it".

Oh ye of little wisdom. Has not your soul informed you that laws exist everywhere? And what right have you to invade the privacy of another's mind? Or is this too far-fetched for you? Unrealistic for you, perhaps? Do you really believe that such a reality has not already unfolded into our evolutionary journey as the species of life that we be? If so, the stork dropped you on the wrong time-line.

See .... we've arrived at that point. Hence, it's so refreshing when someone bravely walks forward and casts forth a solid 'reminder of what we should be doing' as the proper species of life we were meant to be.

Privacy is everyone's right. No matter what platform it falls upon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh Mr. Greenslade, where art thou?

For those not current, Roy Greenslade from 'The Guardian', decided to post a rather interesting article on his blog which can be viewed here. Comments were welcomed and Loreena took the opportunity to educate Mr. Greenslade on a few facts which he obviously had not bothered taking into consideration.

Loreena leniently presented Roy with 17 questions for his homework, but he didn't seem to want to emerge from his nook and cranny. Finally, after much tug and pulling from various commenters, he decided to answer...or did he (?). I was very disappointed when he began quoting ...oh I'll let you look:
Roy's comment .

For a professional, I couldn't believe the lack of authenticity involved in his post. I think he was squarely pegged and he knew it. Loreena, however, thanked him for his attempt, but further added more questions totalling it to twenty-three. Roy Greenslade was encouraged to answer the questions from his own perspective and not from quotes which he kept pulling out of the slush basket.

Mr. Greenslade never did show up to quench the people's curiosities. Instead, the 'Comments Section' was closed off. Ahh we'll never know.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Having followed the McKennitt vs. Ash story for quite some time, I contemplated that if a blog could be erected in Ash's favor, why couldn't there be one for Loreena?

I would suggest to the readers to simply place both names in Google, or read an article which I'd written - quite objectively, I might add - on the topic:
The Loreena McKennitt Vs. Niema Ash Chronicle. If I would have known that Mr. Greenslade had been giving Loreena such a difficult time, I never would have included him in my article. Oh well, we live and learn.

Gunnar Pettersson's blog (crikey!) , I have decided to activate the 'Comments Section', giving fair chance to viewers who would like to post their opinions on the subject at hand. I do expect that everyone will be civil in their opinions. If not, Blogger has a 'Bouncer' waiting at the Exit door.

Needless to mention, poor Loreena has had a taste of crossfires from numerous areas, expecting to hop around in an effort to solidify her stance which so many can't seem to understand. And she's on Tour, to boot! We really have to applaud this brave woman in her ongoing efforts and unwavering stance.

Though the 'McKennitt vs. Ash Case' is officially over, in terms of Court settlements, my intuition tells me that there will still be dueling bangos going on, and since Loreena is the musician here, I think her fingers will pluck the strings a little faster and better.

I will be adding more to this, as I want to get this blog underway.

Site Meter