Broadcasters back Leveson

Posted: January 30, 2013 at 7:44 am

The Times today publishes a letter from 11 highly distinguished UK broadcasters, [paywall] including the former Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, the comedian, Rory Bremner, former Today Programme Editor, Kevin Marsh and the director and producer Peter Kosminsky, rebutting the claim that effective regulation poses any threat to freedom of the press.

“Far from being something to be feared,” the letter argues, “regulation underpinned by statute often acts as a buttress to and a shield for journalism that takes on vested interests and asks awkward questions.”

The broadcasters’ intervention in the debate over the future of the Leveson recommendations follows a forthright attack by ex-Times and Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans on the reaction to the Leveson Report by some sections of the press, which he described as cynical and arrogant.

The Times letter in full:

Sir,

Delays in implementing the Leveson recommendations have been justified in some quarters by warnings that effective regulation would inevitably threaten free speech.

We are broadcasters with long experience of working within a far tighter regulatory system – underpinned by legislation – than Leveson envisages for the print media. While we make no comment on the detail of the Leveson plan, we would point out that our industry has a proud record of independent, challenging journalism – calling the rich and powerful to account without fear or favour. Our experience of programme-making tells us that effective regulation, far from being something to be feared, often acts as a buttress to and a shield for journalism that takes on vested interests and asks awkward questions.

We can say what we want and make the programmes we want within a regulatory framework that is enshrined in law. The suggestion that such regulation is inevitably anathema to free speech, or automatically places us under the thumb of politicians, is wrong and insulting to us as fellow journalists.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Apted
Rory Bremner
Nick Broomfield
Simon Chinn
Greg Dyke
Peter Kosminsky
Angus Macqueen
Krish Majumdar
Kevin Marsh
John Willis
Brian Woods

 

Add your support to Leveson’s recommendations by signing the Hacked Off petition here, and encourage your friends to do the same.

 

7 comments

  1. Julie fuller - reply

    Brilliant but will big brother listen

  2. Evelyn Andrews - reply

    Come on, Cameron, no more excuses. The blueprint is there already. Just get cracking on the legislation.

  3. Cliff Kellow - reply

    Legislation is essential,without it certain sections of the press will carry on as usual

  4. Andrew Forde - reply

    I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart, for putting your name to the letter above. You will always have my respect and admiration for what you want to do,
    Regards
    Andrew

  5. Sue Beaven - reply

    Just do it!

  6. Dave clarkson - reply

    Doesn’t the Leveson thing seem so long ago and irrelevant now? Especially since it turns out Rebekah Brooks, who triggered the whole thing, was innocent all along. What a waste of money and time it all was. Long live a free press.

  7. Christopher Whitmey - reply

    But surely some pleaded guilty and one was proved guilty? I fully endorse the comments of the letter to The Times.

    17th June 2014: Protestors who claim a series of legal actions by Turkish authorities undermined press freedom in the country, have today won the backing of human rights judges.
    See: http://www.humanrightseurope.org/2014/06/turkey-court-rules-on-press-freedom-human-rights-protests/

    The bleatings of press barons that implementing Leveson would ‘gag press freedom’ are totally without foundation.

    What needs gagging is the press’ penchant for innuendo and falsehoods. People cannot afford to take court actions against them.

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