Should Hansard be edited?

Dear Naz Shah,

The controversial Hansard has recently come up in my A-level English language lessons and throughout this essay I will give my thoughts and opinions on the matter. The recorded words spoken in every court or official debate is called Hansard and the accounts are recorded in ‘edited verbatim’. The term itself is extremely confusing as verbatim means the exact words spoken however, how can the accounts be exact if they have been modified? Aside from this we are left with the question should Hansard be edited or just simply left in its basic condition?

Firstly I believe that Hansard should be left in its original state as pauses for example, that would not be recorded in the accounts, are sometimes vital components of what the person is saying and therefore the reader may miss the overall meaning of the words. For example the speaker may pause for emphasis however this would become completely lost in the Hansard account. This is why I believe that Hansard should not be edited as by removing even the smallest of pauses or words the meaning can be completely changed.

Also Hansard removes fillers from its work  such as (erm and like) which may cause the false presumption that the speaker is well spoken with no fillers or pauses which may also suggest that they are confident when in actual fact they are not. This might be an extremely important factor that is not picked up it the Hansard account and could play a significant role in the verdict of what the person said.imagevaulthandler-aspx

However I can understand the need for removing fillers as, in the demanding society that we live in, there is no time for reading ‘unnecessary’ words. Editing also removes spoken mistakes such as ones made and then repeated which again removes time consuming errors that can be ‘cut out’. This works providing that the eliminated text has little or no significance which it rarely does.

Thirdly, some might say that if the piece was recorded ‘word for word’ then other factors such as accents and speech pattern must also be taken into consideration. In doing this it would make the account almost impossible to read and comprehend which could affect the meaning taken away from what was actually said.

Finally, some people might argue that some of the recorded and edited text may have been adapted to go against the speaker. For example the meaning of what was said could have been lost or changed when under edit and could be used against the person as false evidence. Thus, some people believe that the whole speech should be recorded and so every word that was said is available for viewing.

To conclude I believe that Hansard should not be edited as in such sensitive subjects as courts and debates the full spoken record should be available and not be left to an editor to decide what is important and what is not. Although the idea of removing unwanted text seems appropriate, it is almost impossible for an editor to make the decisions without removing some useful text or pauses and so I believe that Hansard should not be edited.



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