David Cameron walks away from cross-party Leveson talks, Hacked Off responds

Posted: March 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Commenting on David Cameron’s decision to end cross-party talks on implementing the Leveson Report, Professor Brian Cathcart, Executive Director, Hacked Off said:

This is a shameless betrayal of the victims of press abuse.

It also raises two fingers to all those members of the public who wanted to see change after the Milly Dowler phone-hacking revelations two years ago.

The Prime Minister has walked away from talks in which other parties were trying desperately to accommodate his views on a Royal Charter.

Instead he has chosen to throw his lot in with powerful national newspaper groups, whose actions were condemned in the Leveson Report. His version of the Royal Charter would have paved the way for a regulatory system little different from the discredited Press Complaints Commission.

He allowed the newspapers to rewrite Leveson so much that they would have been able to pick and choose which complaints their self regulator dealt with and would have given the self regulator little power to tell a paper to give an apology or a correction due prominence.

Worse than that, the editors would have been able to write their own rules and handpick the people who ran the regulator.

This was just the sort of regime we had before Leveson and it was designed to protect the interests of editors and proprietors rather than the public.”

All recent polls show that around three-quarters of the public want effective press regulation, if necessary backed by law. We believe that most Parliamentarians feel the same way and we hope that now that the issue is finally going before Parliament we will see a clear statement that this once-in-a-generation-opportunity is not going to be lost.

David Cameron is trying to portray this as an issue of press freedom. No serious person believes that the Leveson recommendations on press regulation pose any threat to freedom of expression.

Cameron is trying to raise a smokescreen to hide his dirty dealings behind closed doors with powerful press barons who don’t want to have to be accountable when their newspapers –to use Lord Justice Leveson’s words – ‘wreak havoc in the lives of innocent people’.

To read what all 3 party leaders have said about Leveson and press regulation click here.

To show your support for Leveson’s recommendations and the victims of press abuse who gave evidence at the inquiry, please sign the Hacked Off petition, and encourage your friends to do the same.

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  3. DirtyHarry

    “No serious person believes that the Leveson recommendations on press regulation pose any threat to freedom of expression”. You could go write for the tabloids you so despise

  4. Patrick Bastow

    Why spent millions of £’s on the Levenson Enquiry only to ignore the recommendations.

    David Cameron is more concerned about what the media think that what normal voters want – that’s because he knows the power of a biased press and he wants the press on his side at the next election.

  5. Rowan Roenisch

    As we know from the last few years, Cameron is in the pocket of Murdoch and company. Now is the time to really put up a fight and get his tainted proposals voted against on Monday. What was the expensive Leveson Inquiry all about if its proposals are not implemented in full?

  6. PhilM

    Naturally Hugh Grant wants the press muzzled, he has never forgiven them for reporting on his sex activity in the back of a car with a prostitute. But od course you won’t print this as it does not suit your purpose.

  7. Iain Gordon

    Are there any politicians with two old fasioned attributes – honesty and cedibility. David Cameron is in the process of loosing touch with the real world. Power has corrupted.

  8. Ariana Ray

    Shame indeed! Get Murdoch out of Downing Street! So the Prime Minister ‘has chosen to throw his lot in with powerful national newspaper groups, whose actions were condemned in the Leveson Report.’ What a big rat. How many times do we, the people, need to say we want change, we want a media that is accountable and is NOT running the country.

  9. Alison Moir

    Shame on you David Cameron. How will we be able to trust that anything you say in the future will have any truth in it? You stood up and said you wanted change and have then thwarted every attempt for it to happen. You have sold us all out for the sake of keeping the press ‘happy’.

  10. John lop

    If you get your statutory regulation of the press, I will start a paper and refuse to be regulated or abide by any rules of the regulator and will ignore any compliance “requests”. I shall then be in breach of the law, and will suffer the consequences simply for publishing. I, unlike you, believe passionately in a free press.

  11. Will

    This is outrageous. How much more bloody obvious does it become that the Prime Minister is owned and controlled by the Press. They obviously have some dirt on him or promised him a nice reward. Scum.

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  13. Dionne

    “No serious person believes that the Leveson recommendations on press regulation pose any threat to freedom of expression.”

    What a ridiculous thing to say. If you had any interest in public debate around the issue then you would realize that a lot of serious people are worried about the effect Leveson’s proposals could have on freedom of expression. Its no surprise really, seeing as though you seem determined to push the proposals through the back door by callously sabotaging bills that have been long in the making. Your attitude is that of a spoilt brat, demanding it gets its own way without any respect for free and open debate, or for the spirit of democracy.

  14. Vicky L.

    Yes, what a disgraceful – and utterly predictable – betrayal of the victims of press intrusion and harassment, and of the wishes of the public. I just hope that when people hear and see the weasel tones and self-righteous cant of the press, and of the Prime Minister, they’ll remember some of the sickening testimony given before Lord Justice Leveson – and that they’ll sign the Hacked Off petition, write to their MP, and keep up the pressure in any constructive way they can. We mustn’t let the press magnates and their Westminster puppets to get away with this!

  15. Darren Gladstone

    No matter who ‘runs’ the UK, they need to be in bed with Murdoch. If Labour want to be back in power, expect lots of toadying up to N.I. by Miliband & little soundbites regarding SCameron walking away.

  16. Martin Andre

    This is an outrage!
    Cameroon is completely wrong on this
    Independent press regulation has clearly failed and we need Leveson to be implemented in full.
    The Prime Minister has let down all the innocent people whose lives have been made a misery by the press and instead chooses to stand by the media barons who are ultimately responsible for this!

  17. P Cowburn

    I thought the elected government were supposed to represent the peoples wishes.
    Ooops! There I go again, being naive. These so called elected govenors say what they think we the people want to hear and then just go ahead and do whatever is neccessary to keep themselves in power. I guess the saying is right – Power Corrupts! Its all very very sad.

  18. Ian Harris

    Its an absolute disgrace, this country is being run by a coalition party, who both seem to think it acceptable to say 1 thing, ie.. make an empty promise, an then, go an completely do a u-turn. We have no say or influence whatsoever over these people, there needs to be a change and it needs to be soon

  19. mr t.lupton

    who is running the country
    rupert murdock it seems

    is it any wonder that people dont bother to vote

    • a person

      is it any wonder that people dont bother to vote and what exactly have the conservatives got in common with any of the other parties? they are ruling on their own, it seems

  20. Grant Buckley

    The UK is already considered to be 29th (28th last year) in the World for press freedom, by Reporters without Borders. Are we just seeing a process to ‘clean up the press’ or are we seeing a more sinister move to control what the press can report? There have already been occasions where important news has been reported outside the UK, but not here. For example, Euronews was reporting problems with RBS long before it became a news item in the UK. When I questioned the news media, in the UK, as to why they were not carrying this news, I was told it was an ‘editorial decision’. Do we want to allow such important news to be ‘censored’? We need to be careful what press freedoms we want removed.

  21. Steve Archibald

    Cameron is obviously looking after his mates.
    I bet Brooke’s and Coulson won’t go to jail either.

  22. Dave Eyre

    Disgraceful behaviour by Cameron. Nothing new there then. I am wonder whether he thinks he will lose HoC votes and thus be able to point to the proprietors and say – well I tried.

  23. Paul Partington

    To say the least I not impressed with David Cameron’s statement today. It just adds to the distrust of some of those who claim to being representing us in parliament. It is unhealthy for the claimed democracy of this country to be dictated by the power of the owners of the press. It shows weak leadership in the highest office in government.

  24. Jay Wilcox

    I still dont believe that Ca-Moron didnt know what LOL means – hes a liar and has always been in bed with the press. Our own PM ddnt know what LOL meant – no way…………