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Re: <nettime> 'responsible' handling of the Panama Papers
Michael Gurstein on Thu, 7 Apr 2016 18:53:21 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> 'responsible' handling of the Panama Papers


Excellent, Ted.

I think what the "responsible" journalists don't get is that this isn't
about criminal wrong-doing (well some of it is).  

The problem at its base isn't about whether folks did or did not break the
law but rather that the law itself is wrong (most certainly the result of
effective lobbying by the 1% and others) allowing for folks to get out of
paying what they should be paying in tax. (The folks demonstrating in
Iceland seem to have got this right.)

So the objective here is not to save the innocent, in this circumstance
there may be relatively few or even no innocents, rather it is how to
contribute to a global campaign to put laws on the books to ensure that
everyone is paying their fair share.  So as you most effectively argue, the
more information the better, and the journo's involved need a lot wider
input into the filters that they are using for saving us from ourselves.

And we all should be remembering that the biggest and most egregious tax
dodgers aren't the Messi's and Cameron's of the world rather they are
Google, and Facebook, and the big drug companies.

M

-----Original Message-----
From: nettime-l-bounces {AT} mail.kein.org
[mailto:nettime-l-bounces {AT} mail.kein.org] On Behalf Of t byfield
Sent: April 7, 2016 8:08 AM
To: nettime-l {AT} kein.org
Subject: <nettime> 'responsible' handling of the Panama Papers

Here's a mail I just sent to a list devoted to discussion of 'responsible
data.'

Cheers,
T

- - - - - - - 8< SNIP! 8< - - - - - - - 

Hi, all --

I appreciate that a forum devoted to responsible data is what it says on the
tin, but I want to question the reflexive assumption that journalists'
gatekeeping role is the most responsible course of action in the case of the
Panama Papers. It may be the most *defensible* and it may be the most
*professional*, but a lot of other freight can be smuggled in under labels
like that. That's basically what Mossack Fonseca did: use anodyne language
to mask activities that -- to put it charitably -- benefited the few at the
expense of the many. And while it would be grossly unfair to lump the
investigative journalists working on the papers together with MF's staff, it
is a *fact* that, for the purposes of public access to the vast majority of
the documents, the actions of both groups will have the same outcome. And
that's a material fact, because it is how many powerful forces will exploit
this leak to prevent another like it from happening again -- for example, by
intimidating journalists into acting 'professionally.'
 <...>

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