Third Leveson Inquiry seminar information and speeches

Posted: October 16, 2011 at 11:41 am

Attacks on the Leveson Inquiry, and a thorough debate on corporate governance and new forms of press regulation marked the latest Leveson Inquiry seminars held on Wednesday, October 12, at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre.

Eve Salomon, chair of the Internet Watch Foundation, chair of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a former commissioner on the PCC, started the session with a speech on the future of self-regulation from the perspective of a regulator.

Daily Mail editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, spoke on the same subject and was followed by Will Moy, director of fact-checking group Full Fact, who gave an account on the current system from a user’s perspective.

Lord Gordon Borrie, former director of the Office of Fair Trading, Stephen Hill, non-executive director of Channel 4 Television and of the IG Group, and Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, all spoke about the role of corporate governance in maintaining standards.

The afternoon session had Professor Steven Barnett, from the University of Westminster, speaking on “What redress should be available for breach of standards?”, as well as Desmond Browne QC, and Professor Robert Baldwin, from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Defending freedom of expression were Index on Censorship chief executive John Kampfner, Professor James Curran, from Goldsmiths University, and former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, who seized the opportunity to attack the Leveson Inquiry and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speeches in full can be found here

A transcript of the seminars, including questions from the floor, can be found here

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  1. Elaine Decoulos

    My comment as left on the Inforrm media blog and Peter Preston’s profile of Paul Dacre in The Observer:

    I was in attendance at the Seminar and it was truly an extraordinary, yet sad day, for accountability in Britain. Lord Justice Leveson was brave indeed to allow the likes of Paul Dacre and Kelvin MacKenzie to give presentations. They certainly gave him a taste of what they are all about. He is in for a rough ride.

    The Seminar strangely caused the most prompt apology The Daily Mail has likely ever published. Kelvin MacKenzie apologised to Lord Justice Leveson in his Saturday column over comments made in his ‘speech’. This is a British farce, Benny Hill style. His ‘speech’ got a lot of laughter, but I did not think it was funny. He was mocking a very senior judge appointed to sort out the mess his former employer created. No contrition on offer.

    If The Daily Mail is serious about improving standards, they should fire him. What do they pay him? Last week he mocked Hugh Grant because he is doing an excellent and incidentally, unpaid job, campaigning for those whose lives have been greatly harmed by the unlawful acts of the press. Sorry, but this is not a joke. The Daily Mail is moving down into the gutter while their editor makes some minor concessions on improving standards which they hope to control via beefed self-regulation. I am beginning to wonder if they are a fit and proper newspaper group themselves.

    The sad part is Associated Newspapers does not need to go into the gutter. Why are they doing it? They would still have a good product if they cleaned up their act.

    Of course Dacre and MacKenzie got the headlines, but there were many excellent presentations and contributions from academics and others on free speech, the problems of the PCC and need for corporate governance. Not sure how the latter would work with DMGT, owner of The Daily Mail and listed on The London Stock Exchange in the FTSE 100. It’s a bit like News Corp. The family has a majority of the voting shares, so essentially they control the board.

    Best quote of the day goes to Desmond Browne QC: “Lack of access to justice breeds media impunity”.

    This contrasts greatly to Paul Dacre’s views on democracy. He thinks “the only viable way of policing a genuinely free press” is beefed up self-regulation. What about the High Court and Court 13 in particular where his lawyers have spent many hours of their working life? . They have spent more time there than any other newspaper group. Another great British farce, Benny Hill style.

  2. lotto wheel

    Our press, in contrast to our dealers who have it in a yet-to the best of investigative journalism, which in this country at the time puffed up and self-indulgent, celebrity obsessed and self-satisfied. You need to a system similar to that station when dumbing down our society are made ​​- which, ironically, seem to complain publishers regularly, even if the mistake – will continue