David Langwallner: Undermining Authority


From top: An extract from The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill; David Langwallner

This is follow-up to my post on the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill and prompted by a Broadsheet contributor, who noted that, as well as the right to offend being criminalised, the authority of the state or undermining the same is now also potentially subject to penal sanction. a further restriction on speech. It is Section 46 J and sneaks in at the end. A sinister afterthought deliberately masked?

Now the question of undermining the authority of the state is a question that feeds into whether and to what extent that authority should be respected.

Frédéric Gros in a recent essay on civil disobedience pointed out the dangers of internalised compliance and one Broadsheet commentator suggested free speech had gone too far to much dismay and rightly so by fellow commentators.

The crucial question is, do the gatekeepers or custodians of the system uphold authority or are they simply authoritarian and despotic? Who judges the judges? Is it a mafiosa state run by nods, shrugs and whispers?

When there is a state of siege and what is called a crisis of legitimation of the state then the suppression of criticism is the undermining of democracy by those who do not believe in democracy in the first place. Is that where we are now?

Should we undermine their authority? Oh, yes.

Our police force should be disbanded. Their authority is a grave question. They have run their training facility in Templemore as a money laundering exercise. They have actively framed people not least for child sex abuse even their own whistle-blower Garda McCabe. They falsified over a million breathalyser tests. They have resorted to high crimes and cover up and paper up their infamy.

So does it undermine the authority of the state to say they are, in terms of higher management and the Heavy Gang and those in Harcourt Street, a quasi psychotic bandit organisation?

The state, in league with multinational corporations and law firms, have created de facto a shadow state where the laws are drafted in favour of vulture and hedge funds dispossessing people and giving freehold entitlements on all new properties on a sale and leaseback arrangement to prevent security of tenure of future Irish generations.

Does that statement undermine the authority of the state?

NAMA, the national association for misery and austerity has been used in a fraudulent way to park or thieve billions.

Does that statement undermine the authority of the state?

The state has designates or agents and those are our political class. Now that intersects with the right to ridicule and offence but if one said that the emperor had no clothes and were paid by their corporate paymasters would that undermine the authority of the state?

If one said that the judiciary had not upheld the constitution properly and certainly in due process terms for the last 20 years, would that scandalise the judiciary?

If one said that state sponsored policy of coerced vaccinations for all including children was a dangerous vista of a culture run by the state and its emanation, would that undermine authority? When authority negates freedom of choice? Of course it would, but authority should only be obeyed when it has authority.

Finally, I said in the last piece that it is not just Sinn Féin who has blood on its hands. The state does as do the establishment families of Dublin. Might saying that help undermine their authority?


David Langwallner is a barrister, specialising in public law, immigration, housing and criminal defence including miscarriages of justice. He is emeritus director of the Irish Innocence project and was Irish lawyer of the year at the 2015 Irish law awards. Follow David on Twitter @DLangwallner

Previously: Ridicule Is Nothing To be Scared Of

18 thoughts on “David Langwallner: Undermining Authority

  1. Mr .T

    Governments across the world are trying to reign in the internet and get back some of that censorship ability they once had when we only had print media & television . The internet was a great place to exchange ideas, but they cant behaving that. Only sanitised, kosher opinions allowed

    1. SOQ

      Absolutely but the more information we are able to access, the more energy is generated, and that energy has to appear somewhere. So in the case of the social media platforms, as the state(s) have exercised more and more control- so the alternatives have gained strength. And the whole mask / lockdowns/ vaccine mandate and injures thing has speeded that process up.

      Take YouTube for example- you won’t find much there these days which goes against the big Pharma narrative but just look at how odysee/ rumble/ bitchute etc are thriving. The only difference is they are not indexed by Google, but there is ways around that. Likewise TikTok and Telegram vs Facebook and Twitter.

  2. David

    Brief me for a challenge if passed as to its constitutionality

    Meanwhile I politically behind the scenes work to ensure it is not passed

    Sf are right to say mr varadker should not be Taoiseach he should not even have been a banker in New York or London

  3. Cian

    This legislation has nothing to do with the Internet or comment sections. It relates to broadcasters (including streaming services like Netflix).

      1. Cian

        ‘audiovisual broadcasting service’ means an audiovisual media service
        provided for simultaneous or near-simultaneous viewing of
        audiovisual programmes on the basis of a programme schedule;

        ‘audiovisual commercial communication’ means a commercial
        communication consisting of images with or without sound;

        ‘audiovisual media service’ means a service, within the meaning of
        Articles 56 and 57 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
        Union, where—
        (a) the principal purpose of the service is devoted to, or
        (b) the principal purpose of a dissociable section of the service is
        devoted to,
        providing audiovisual programmes, by electronic communications
        networks, to the general public, under the editorial responsibility of
        the provider of the service, in order to inform, entertain or educate;

        ‘audiovisual on-demand media service’ means an audiovisual media
        service provided for the viewing of programmes at the moment chosen
        by the user and at the user’s request on the basis of a catalogue of
        programmes selected by the provider of the service;

        ‘audiovisual programme’ means a set of moving images with or
        without sound which, in the case of an audiovisual media service,
        constitutes an individual item, irrespective of its length, within a
        programme schedule or a catalogue;”,

        So RTE and Netflix.
        Not Broadsheet or Youtube.

        1. jonjoker

          And once that’s become law Clan, do you think the people who came up with it are incapable of amending the law so that it applies to the Internet generally?

      1. david langwaLLNER

        rossas opinion would be to defer to the wise elders he has sucked up to not putting a foot wrong and implementing this.

        the go with flow me feiner culture has now lead to this type of impasse typical of impasses to come with now way out for most people

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