As Scotland enters its historic year what we need is journalists, good journalists. This week David Limond may go to jail for attacking a brave young female journalist just for doing her job. Sheriff Scott Pattison has said: “I am strongly considering a custodial sentence.”
You probably won’t have heard about the case because none of the main Scottish papers have covered it despite it featuring online bullying, sectarianism, and celebrity (Limond is the brother of comedian Brian Limond, the man behind the BBC’s ‘Limmy’s Show’) – so it’s a veritable tick-box of media obsessions.
For this crime she became a hate figure for an element of Rangers fans and loyalists, one including David Limond who was found guilty of a religiously aggravated breach of the peace after targeting a journalist as “Taig of the day” on his online podcast. He told his listeners to “hit her with everything you’ve got” and said “she’s got to get bang bang bang”.
Angela has said: “I’m pleased with the verdict and relieved that things have been concluded. There were many attempts throughout the Rangers financial crisis to silence journalists on the story, and this was just one of those forms of intimidation. While social and online broadcasting technology has been a great development in new media, those tools can be very easily abused and the effect it has on people’s lives shouldn’t be underestimated.”
So why haven’t you heard about it?
Limond’s conviction has only been reported in any detail by The Ayr Advertiser and as a paragraph at the end of a separate story in The Herald. Roy Greenslade thinks it’s about the ‘Scottish media averting its gaze’.
Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News challenges the Scottish media to report this groundbreaking prosecution this Friday, saying:
The victim here is not black, she’s of Irish descent. But racism is racism in fact, in reality, in law – however blind important sections of Glasgow remain to this reality. So the racial element makes it obviously a landmark, groundbreaking prosecution.
So groundbreaking in fact that it was all but ignored by the Glasgow-dominated Scottish media. You really do have to wonder why? They’ll have another chance this week when Limond is sentenced in Ayr. Will they take it?
So far so what? ‘Rangers fan abuses Celtic-blogger’. Who cares? But this story has a new twist and goes to the heart of a Scottish misogyny – in this case combining macho football culture with online aggression.
Now Haggerty, who attracted hostility after writing a blog about a female physiotherapist getting abused by Celtic fans at the Elfsborg game (‘Get your wits out for the ghirls’) has been getting threatened by Celtic Fans on the Huddleboard. Her crime? Being critical of Celtic fans drunken behavior at a series of away games.
As Alex Thomson writes: “Here so-called Celtic “supporters” openly threaten precisely the same journalist as Limond did. They threaten her with blatant physical and sexual assault for doing her job. It’s disgusting and laughably stupid – and yes guys – deleting any of it now is far far too late.”
What’s this got to do with anything? What’s this got to do with Scottish independence?
The same thing that Rangers corruption and tax-evasion has. It’s about what sort of Scotland we want to live in and are trying to create. In a democracy we need freedom of speech and freedom from intimidation.
As we struggle with new online fora and find ways to communicate we need to get beyond this.
Angela’s case is one about truth, honesty and change. How do we stand up to cultures of violence, misogyny and bigotry? I suppose by facing up to them. It’s about taking responsibility for our actions. That’s a start.