Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ZenTiger Name Suppression Rules

With Whaleoil (real name of "Cameron Slater" will not be mentioned for privacy reasons) due in court for allegedly violating name suppression rules by publishing a series of cryptic pictures as hints to the identity of the accused, I'm wondering why the mainstream media are not also in violation of name suppression rules, given the hints they also drop.

After all, declaring information like "a former NZ Olympian", or "a comedian", as the media have done, gives people a running start. And as each former Comedian or Olympian quickly goes on record to declare their innocence it narrows down the field.

For the courts to make any case against Cameron they are probably going to have to establish a points system that gets the media off the hook, and Whale completely hooked, if you pardon the accent.

To help the process along, I've come up with a point system that might work, with a score of 100 points or more indicating contempt of court. So, where the person or organisation mentions:

Professional sports player: 50 points
Politician: 10 points (we never seem surprised)
Actor on NZ Soap: 50 points
All other actors: 40 points
Comedians: 50 points
Jelly Wrestler or Ralph Pinup: 60 points (far more likely to be known)
A person with two or more from the above: 80 points

Lives outside of Auckland: 10 points (they just about always live in Auckland)

Accused has also competed at an Olympic Game: 30 points
Accused has competed at a Commonwealth Game: 10 points
Accused caught in LA toilets: 60 points (there's a very small list of suspects)
Accused has been on a Telethon event: 1 point (hasn't everyone?)
Where accused's peers profess their own innocence: 20 points for each peer

Name is communicated in pictures: 20 points
Name is communicated in Te Reo Maori: 1 point
Story is run on Campbell Live, using silhouettes and serious head nodding by Campbell with at least 6 uses of "hmmmm": 30 points

Crime is discussed on a blog: 10 points (all against the blogger, irrespective of the commenter, although commenters identifying themselves as "anonymous" are rounded up and shot for past crimes)

On this basis, the media get away with dropping hints that help people Google their way to the answer, and Whaleoil comes dangerously close to exceeding the 100 point mark for putting pictures on a blog, that only make sense when combined with the hints the media have already provided.

Of course, the amount of outrage the courts might feel towards blogs, given that they have appear to be beyond "easy" state control, I suspect we'll see them assign 200 points right off the bat for any blogger sailing close to the wind.

The only thing the courts will likely to be careful about is the penalty. If they get too keen, we might see the crime of name revealing be punished far harder than say, the more trivial misdemeanor of sexual assault.

The actual issue of name suppression in this day and age is a tricky one. Presumably, the accused deserves name suppression when they are famous and innocent until proven otherwise. The problem there is everyone is famous within their circle of friends, workmates and relatives. Damage is always done by being accused of something, and if one is found innocent perhaps there needs to be a mechanism to help people recover their good name in any event?

Perhaps the courts merely want to send a message: If you dress your information provocatively on a blog, expect to be screwed by the legal system. Yes, that's right Cameron, society is telling you that you only have yourself to blame. It's enough to make one declare "Whale Oil Beef Hooked"

Related Link: Nothing I should link to, for my own safety.

Note: This story is entirely fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead or about to be jailed for life is purely coincidental. As far as I know, they also never competed in an Olympic event, although may have done some boxing.

4 comment(s):

Ozy Mandias said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ozy Mandias said...

I like the idea of a number system. It is easy to use and covers all the main points.

Alternatively we could go down the NCEA line and do Achieved, Merit and Excellence based on the clues given.
If you get an excellence you are guilty and off to the firing squad. A Merit is just time in our prisons and achieved is a fine.

Glenn said...

"Name is communicated in Te Reo Maori: 1 point"

Um, surely you meant 100 points, as this amounts to telling people the accused person's name.

ZenTiger said...

No, 1 point because the joke is hardly anyone understands Te Reo Maori. (just joking)

OK, if you are going to get picky maybe if we restrict it to some-one's Whakapapa then? That dobs in the whole family but we don't need to mention the specific person.

Unless shown in a haka or waiata (and points for originality and clever use of the poi). It would be appropriate to stick ones tongue out at the Courts after the performance, as is customary with the haka.

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