We are back where we were before the Leveson Inquiry but we have an opportunity to make a difference

Posted: November 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

No one can doubt, after the events of the past few weeks, that the corporate national newspapers – Mail, Sun, Express, Telegraph – are intent on bending our political institutions to their will, no matter what damage they cause.

By attacking the independence of the judiciary they threaten the rule of law. Their attempts to stifle Parliament strike at the roots of democracy. Their campaign against the governor of the Bank of England threatens the management of the economy. The BBC, the NHS, and our human rights are also in their sights.

Their methods are outrageous. They distort and lie; they personalise and abuse; they give encouragement to vile online campaigns of persecution and they mock the idea of freedom of expression by demanding that anyone who stands up to them is silenced.

We are back where we were before the Leveson Inquiry, in a world where unscrupulous newspaper companies considered themselves beyond accountability and free to trash whatever and whoever they disliked.

Our politicians are either afraid or unwilling to act, but we, the public, have one key opportunity to make a difference. We need to act now.

The Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley, has launched a public consultation on regulation of the press (and the investigation of police and press corruption) and if enough of us send a strong enough message to her and to Parliament we may be able to make them put the public interest before the interests of thuggish newspapers.

The consultation asks whether the government should proceed with two measures it has been stalling on, one launching the second phase of the Leveson Inquiry (into press criminality and its cover up and into police collusion) and the other giving everyone in the country the right to affordable justice when their rights in libel and privacy are breached (as well as incentivizing the Royal Charter system).

Shockingly, although both were approved by both houses of Parliament, the government has delayed them coming into effect purely because of covert pressure from the big newspaper companies. The consultation has only been initiated because further delay was not legally possible.

Is it worth participating? Don’t we all know that consultations are usually mere smokescreens thrown up to palliate the public while the government does what it wants?

There can be no doubt that Karen Bradley has done all she can to stack her consultation the way she wants – or rather the way demanded by the owners of the Mail, the Sun and the rest.

But the press case is so outrageous, and the government’s position so shameful, that if we express our views and put our arguments plainly and in sufficient numbers Ms Bradley will find them hard to ignore. And if she tries to ignore them, we can convince enough MPs and peers in Parliament to make her change her mind.

One thing is sure: if we do nothing the big papers will get what they want and we will all be the losers.

So please sign up here to find out more about responding to the consultation so you can make your views known to the government.

The billionaires who own the big newspapers are resisting these measures because they WILL make a difference. Leveson Part Two will drag all of their criminal skeletons out of the cupboard and oblige them to clean up their act. A new public right of access to justice in libel and privacy cases is linked to improvements in regulation, making papers more accountable for their lies and bullying without politicians having any influence over what the press can write.

With these measures in place, change can begin.

So if you are worried about press abuses and press power in this country, please take this opportunity to change things for the better. Please sign up here to find out more about responding to the consultation now.

12 comments

  1. Malcolm Reynolds

    If you don’t believe the press don’t buy then there would be NO press

  2. Christine Karn

    I do believe there is a law in this country that says it is not legal to deliberately incite
    racial or religious hatred. It seems that the newspapers think they are above this law!

  3. Maryke Gosliga

    I can remember this group of ‘news’papers’ being called by its proper name, the gutter press. They still belong just there, in the gutter, as they break all rules of normal human behaviour of decency and respect for others. They are instrumental in dividing the people in the country and setting groups up against each other.
    The other aspect that should be considered is who is behind all this. The owners of these publications are not known for their ethical stance. They have had undue influence on successive governments by promoting some parties and talking down others to the extent that the papers appear to dictate policy much more than political process does.
    Unudue influence against the BBC by a government in Murdoch’s pocket ( yes, he owns Sky of course) has made the Beeb so careful to be ‘balanced’ that most of us have lost trust in them; part of the plan, I suspect.

  4. Dave Fisher

    Our country is being drip-fed racist poison by The Sun, Mail and Express.

  5. Guy Falkenau

    Many of our national newspapers have long since given up any pretence of being journals of record.In many cases they have simply become propaganda sheets for their owners, both selective in what they report, free to distort the truth or malign those they see as targets for their prejudice.We deserve a better press and whilst they go on seeking to pander to the worst appetites they write their own decline.

  6. Jackie Jones

    The press seems to be completely out of control. Blatant lies, actively promoting hatred, racism and anti-gay feeling. Since the EU referendum many headlines have felt threatening and very divisive. There must be stronger regulation and accountability. The Editors’ Code is laughable since the chairman is the editor of the Daily Mail…one of the worst offenders.

  7. Amber Bauer

    No one in the press has been voted in so their word should not be influencing the people. Their job is to report the news, not lie to tell people what they want them to hear – good, bad or ugly. They are not representative, they use unorthodox and unethical means to get stories, they are not telling us what we need to know… the truth. If I was this bad in my job I’d be fired – why is it different for them?

  8. Edward Fishlock

    Much of the press is poisoning the minds of our citizens with lies and distortions.

  9. Ingrid van Loo Plowman

    I am extremely worried about the press getting away with untruthful news, the incitement of hatred towards foreigners and their methods of obtaining information that are unlawful.
    I call for better press regulation and holding journalists to account .

  10. Gihan Abuella

    Press freedom with accountability is the perfect balance. The press should not be above the law

  11. Lynda Storm

    Freedom of speech is one thing, but inciting hatred, xenophobia & racism is another matter altogether. ..

  12. Anna Grist

    I cannot understand how anything other than corruption can be the reason that the second phase of the Leveson enquiry has not been implemented and that the proposed and agreed regulations have not been put into place. To be perfectly honest, I cannot understand how anything other than either venality or cowardice has led to the necessity of this consultation. However, this is where we are. I would suggest that this ‘consultation’ be conducted speedily by referring back to the original enquiry and the recommended outcomes and confirming that they will now implemented in full. I apologise if you find my choice of words a little excessive and assure you that they only express a small percentage of my feelings of disgust and betrayal.