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Publishing of any evidence of public dangers and harm, by automatic right

Comment 4th July 2010

dangers that a policy or theory allows to exist, hence that can happen to other folks too.

 
An example is the dangers that children can be placed in by supposedly expert decisions taken about them by school teachers in authority over them, deciding on the child's level of ability at school work and the methods used to force the child to perform at a higher level than they can, where nobody will listen to the child concerning their own limits of ability. The sign-and-punishment regime taken towards schoolwork in the authoritarian backlash of the 1980s has been proved damaging by the more recent understanding of factors like attention deficit that were just not being recognised by authority before, and often enough still are not. Nobody can be sure that all these forms of child harm have been stopped, until every personally experienced aspects of them, known to anyone, particularly to persons with childhood memory of being the object of them, have been published by automatic right. Hence it is a matter of child protection already existing, that they should be.
 
As yet, the fact that children could be put in a position with a life-threatening scale of impossibility has not registered at all with the media and has remained totally absent from the politics of education for 30 years. In a society as frantic as ours about child protection, any decision maker who goes against automatic public exposure and scrutiny of such facts, commits a crime of endangering every child in the country.
 
This is just one example. Others, affecting adults in the same way, could be over questions of medical safety, the effectiveness and consequences of every prescribed medicine, local effects of industrial or nuclear pollution, conditions in care of the elderly, dangers caused by long working hours, other questions of industrial and mechanical safety, mean practises by insurers, short cuts by police and lawyers and the courts, bullying and violence, food safety, housing scandals of all types and housing policies failing to prevent them. Most importantly, it guarantees a broadcast scale of hearing to factual evidence on issues of safety that are not listed here because nobody, except the few who know of them, have thought of them.
 
The publishing's content would be defended by the same right as public interest journalism. It would have a responsibility to evidence its own accuracy, and not to make personal accusations out of nowhere. When what you publish is looked at, after it has been published, it will be a crime to have laid claim to use the power without having a genuine issue of widely unrecognised danger to expose. So anyone wishing to use this power will have to think responsibly before they use it. Hence it will not flood society with silly made up accusations.

Why does this matter?

This is one of the common sense checks on the use of power that the free world has been missing. Hence I suggest that it is constitutional common sense, enacting it into law only gets that fact acknowledged, and as long as it is absent from law there exists an unconstitutional failing by the state towards its own citizens' safety. It enacts a principle that already is an arguable case that can be made by any person who has been unable to publish any item that there was a public safety need to get published.
 
It makes a key difference to child protection, to strong monitoring of civil liberties, to medical safety, to public protection from business scams. It makes all the difference between unprovable trust and guarantee, that the state will keep its citizens safe every time any person knows that any previously unrecognised danger exists.
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