Georgie Newson

17 May 2023

Shoving from All Sides

The Public Order Act received royal assent on 2 May, just in time for the coronation. Its explicit aim is to combat the civil resistance tactics adopted by climate activists, with new offences including ‘locking on’, ‘being equipped for locking on’, ‘tunnelling’ and ‘obstruction etc of major transport works disruption’. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights criticised the legislation as ‘neither necessary nor proportionate’. Meanwhile, the government is processing the 115 bids for North Sea fossil fuel licences that have been made since applications were reopened at the end of last year. The amount of carbon dioxide produced by just one of the unexploited oil fields, Rosebank, will be greater than the combined annual emissions of the 28 lowest-income countries.

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9 March 2023

At Raven Row

‘We’ve made this programme for Black parents,’ Mike Phillips said, introducing ‘Black Teachers’ on BBC2 in 1973. ‘We’ve got no intention of wasting our time on proving things that we all know.’ ‘Black Teachers’ was an episode of Open Door, a product of the BBC’s Community Programme Unit, founded a year earlier to profile groups and causes that had been ‘unheard or neglected’ by the media establishment. Its archive has been inaccessible for decades, but People Make Television, an exhibition at Raven Row in Spitalfields until 25 March, aims to change that, presenting a tightly curated – but still vast – selection of the material produced by the unit and its offshoots.

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14 December 2022

In the Shadow Library

Last month, Z-Library – one of the world’s most popular ‘shadow libraries’, or unlicensed eBook databases – was shut down by the FBI. Two of its alleged operators, both Russian nationals, were arrested in Argentina on behalf of the US authorities and charged with criminal copyright infringement. Z-Library, which archived 11 million books and 84 million articles, had a good claim to being the largest resource of its kind, and had managed to skirt serious legal action since it first emerged as a replica, or mirror, of Library Genesis (LibGen) in 2009. 

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