J.K. Rowling’s statement on David Cameron’s response to Leveson

Following the announcement yesterday of Lord Justice Leveson’s report and the Prime Minister’s response, author J.K. Rowling, a Core Participant in the Leveson inquiry and supporter of the Hacked Off campaign, has released the following statement, in which she calls for people to add their voices to those of victims of press misconduct and sign the petition.

I am alarmed and dismayed that the Prime Minister appears to be backing away from assurances he made at the outset of the Leveson inquiry.

I thought long and hard about the possible consequences to my family of giving evidence and finally decided to do so because I have made every possible attempt to protect my children’s privacy under the present system, and failed. If I, who can afford the very best lawyers, cannot guarantee the privacy of those dearest to me, what hope did the Dowlers, the McCanns and the Watsons ever have of protecting their own children and their own good names? Those who have suffered the worst, most painful and least justifiable kinds of mistreatment at the hands of the press, people who have become newsworthy because of the press’s own errors or through unspeakable private tragedy, are those least likely to be able to defend themselves or to seek proper redress.

My understanding is that Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations would give everybody, whatever their degree of celebrity or their bank balance, a quick, cheap and effective way of holding the press to account. They would also protect the press against frivolous complaints and reduce costly lawsuits. At the moment, only those of us who can afford the immensely expensive, time-consuming and stressful services of the legal system are able to take a stand against serious invasions of privacy and even this offers little to no protection against the unjustified, insidious and often covert practises highlighted by the Leveson inquiry.

Without statutory underpinning Leveson’s recommendations will not work. We will be left with yet another voluntary system from which the press can walk away. If the Prime Minister did not wish to change the regulatory system even to the moderate, balanced and proportionate extent proposed by Lord Leveson, I am at a loss to understand why so much public money has been spent and why so many people have been asked to re-live extremely painful episodes on the stand in front of millions. Having taken David Cameron’s assurances in good faith at the outset of the inquiry he set up, I am merely one among many who feel duped and angry in its wake.

I hope that those who share similar concerns will speak up now and sign the Hacked Off petition. Mr. Cameron said that he would implement sensible recommendations: it is time for him to honour that commitment and join the other political leaders by supporting the Leveson recommendations in their entirety.

Read more about J.K. Rowling’s experiences with the press here.

66 Responses to “J.K. Rowling’s statement on David Cameron’s response to Leveson”

  1. Jennifer Bassett

    I have signed the petition already, and would like to thank you, J. K. Rowling, for speaking out and urging our pusillanimous Prime Minister to stand by his pledges and behave honourably. For far too long our self-serving politicians have sold their souls to the media devil. A plague on all their houses!

    Reply
    • Robert Hutchinson

      As an Englishman living overseas I cannot put into words the acute embarrishment followed anger I felt as the evidence was presented to the Leveson inquiry. Not UK plc proudest moment ! As a former prime minster stated “powerful people don’t have friends they only have interests”..on this matter the current Prime Minster must be held to account by the voting public and suffer the consequences should he fail to implement in full the reports findings.

      Reply
      • Tom

        Cameron’s mistake is like many others, getting too cozy with people like Brooks who labor under a false sense of entitlement, the first dogs to cross the road while the followers are run over. While I don’t think he’ll reach the level of disgrace Blair has achieved (and worsening every day), this most recent fight may have been the wrong one to pick, a final construct to his downfall. We’ll see. This week will be ‘fun’, but I personally can’t wait for September, when “There’s Something About Rebekah” moves from tabloids to television.

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    • Dave Gross

      It is clear that over the last 60-70 years….Not ONE ‘elected’ GOVERNMENT has had the courage to deal with the GROSS intrusions of the gutter press on the privacy of this countries own citizens!!
      It begs the question… WHY!?
      Leveson has highlighted (many times), how the press ignore the LAWS of this land with impunity. And the (now disgraced) PCC have neither taken the press to task… NOR advocated prosecution under CRIMINAL LAW!
      NONE of the (5) governments in power during this span of time has done so either.
      This demonstrates the power of the press over successive governments…. AND, the fear of politicians to act.
      Leveson is NOT advocating shackling of the press. He is at pains to protect freedom of speech. That is why he suggests underpinning by statute ONLY regarding a body set-up to ENSURE that the press adheres to its OWN code of practice. (Something which, WITHOUT legislation it has abjectly FAILED to do!!)
      What is David Cameron scared of!!!?
      Perhaps the fact that by introducing statutory underpinning, he will evoke RETRIBUTION by the press at election time!?… Almost certainly! (Which PROVES the power of the press to CONTROL government AND use gutter tactics to KEEP that power!)
      What is David Cameron scared of!!!?
      Perhaps he is also afraid that (like so many other politicians), he may have something that HE does not wish to appear in the press!?
      Please sign to petition now!

      Reply
      • Steve

        Thank you for such a clearly laid out and incisive comments. You have got this absolutely spot on.

        Can I add..This country is supposed to be the envy of many in having a ‘FREE PRESS’… yes it has…free to do exactly what it wants.

        Your comments should be posted and pinned up every where for all to see.

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    • Peter - Stoneleigh

      Thank you JKR. I’ve signed the petition and written to Cameron to ask for some explanation of this broken promise. Not that I expect a reply, let alone any credible explanation – it’s all so frustrating!

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    • David Powell

      I too would strongly endorse what JKR has said. It seems clear that many politicians feel their futures lie more in the hands of the press barons than in the hands of the electorate. It appears that there is too little real respect for, or belief in, the fundamental principles of an open liberal democracy. Do we really have a system where all that matters is winning, – in politics, media and business, – regardless of integrity, honour, truth, or even law?

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    • Sunny

      Thanks to JK Rowling for the brilliant letter and to Hugh Grant for speaking about this crucial issue of our time. We want a free press but we also want a responsible and reliable press too!!

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    • Christine

      We are seeing our civil rights eroded daily by self interested politicians. I do not believe that regulating the press, aids the cause of the greater good,but feeds into the unaccountable unchained power of the facelees ones who rule irrespective of which government is in power. You do a grosse disservice to those good men and women who have fought and are fighting for freedom and justice;free speech is a priceless commodity,however unpalatable

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      • Jed Jones

        The abuse of big-media power is PART of the threat to our fundamental civil rights, including the right to free speech of minorities who are persecuted by that same media. Who does most of the shouting and screaming and scaremongering, in the name of ‘protecting our children’, to terrify us into signing away our freedom? Who’s been rooting for the state to ‘get tough on crimes against children’ by empowering itself to read our e-mails?

        Who stoked the hysteria that resulted in you and I being forced to disclose the box of liquorice allsorts we stole from the corner shop at the age of six because our mates dared us to do it, before we’re allowed to set foot inside a school?

        The tabloids are proud that their campaigns resulted in two ten-year-old boys being forced to disclose, for the rest of their lives, that they played doctors and nurses with a nine-year-old girl, before they can ever be considered for a place in medical school, or on a teacher training course.

        When our children grow up, the irony will not be lost on them that media hate campaigns softened us up to jettison their fundamental rights and liberties in the name of child protection.

        The only difference Leveson will make, if the recommendations are legislated, is that ordinary people will be empowered to seek redress when their lives are destroyed by the abuse of big-media power.

        Like any playground bully, Rupert Get-Tough-On-Crime Murdoch can’t take what he dishes out, without blubbering to the teacher about how unfair it is.

        Reply
  2. John - Bristol

    The man is a liar. If he told me todays date I would double check. The majority of the Conservative manifesto he got elected on, is liars. What is the point of an inquiry if you don’t implement it recommendations?

    Reply
  3. kirky

    David Camerons refusal to honour his promise to implement Leverson makes me wonder if he and his party are closer to the Murdochs and the mainly Tory press than he would have us believe.
    He appears to have no principles, only commissioning the enquiry to kick the press issue into the long grass.

    Reply
  4. Michael Collins

    This Man is an unashamed Liar. His very Election Ploy was to Start afresh and initiate New Ways. This man send old ladies to Prison for receiving stolen water from the Riots, but allows his own Gang Members to Defraud the Public via MP’s Expenses, including Himself.

    A Criminal in an expensive Suit and a Posh Accent!! The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing!!

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  5. morris young

    The PRESS in this country are incapable of behaviour befitting their position of influence and need to be brought to heel.Leveson was charged with establishing what needs to be done.The only thing he appears to have missed is the need to remove Camerons cohorts from government which is clearly a far bigger danger than allowing our PRESS to do what they like. A FREE PRESS is what we need but with that freedom comes responsisbility for ones actions. The truth is few politicians want a “free press” or a free media all round.What they want is a subservient mouthpiece propaganda machine. We need to change media and government.

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  6. Judy Rose

    Well said, JKR. Cameron has let us all down yet again. For the next someone to be in the harsh and unwelcome light of the press’s attention could be any one of us, and his refusal to keep his promise about statutory regulation leaves us all potentially exposed to the appalling treatment meted out to previous victims with little or no redress. Shame on you Prime Minister!

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  7. David Abercrombie

    David Cameron joins his deputy in being guilty of welching on a very public commitment. I trust that he and his party will suffer the same fate as the LibDems at the hands of the electorate.

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  8. Maxine Houston

    I’m deeply concerned about lack of response to Leveson and even more so about the lack of sincerity in this whole process. Cameron’s reaction was so quick, so unconsidered, so pre-judged? As long as ‘one is seen to be doing something’ – i.e. the Inquiry – that seems to be sufficient. The priority is to get it off one’s back, sound all concerned as people bear their souls for you, make it look as if you’re allowing someone objective and wise to weigh the matter carefully – at significant cost to the public purse – and then choose the do-nothing option, ignoring the advice you’ve used scarce public resources to acquire. Did the PM EVER intend to listen? Despite best evidence he seems set on privileging his own opinion and priorities, smacking very much of Blair and Iraq. I have no wish to conflate the two but fear a leader who resolutely refuses to listen or heed advice/evidence (unless of course its speaker is unseen by the public?). I’ll be very interested to see what happens on Heseltine’s recommendations – how sincere that process was too.

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  9. Alexander Sewell

    Cameron is letting the whole country down. What the bad press (bad politicians & bad police) has done over the years is a bigger threat to our democracy than making the press pay for if they don’t honour their own regulatory rules. Cameron shows his true blue colours.

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  10. Ian Curran

    A powerful and potent assessment of broken promises from our ‘leader’. Why can’t our politicians stay true to their word? Surely honour and honesty will eventually see to their sustained parliamentary success.

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  11. Stephen Massie

    If we had crossed the Rubicon 50 year’s ago we would not be faced with this fiasco now and neither would the Dowlers, McCanns et al have had to endure the torture by press which they did.

    Reply
  12. Jeff

    well said j.k really feel for you and the rest of the victims especially the dowler family which to this day i am still shocked and disgusted how that family was treated and the unimaginable pain they must of felt thinking their poor beautiful daughter was still alive then finding out how the low pond life side of the press had hacked into her mobile phone just for a profit making story makes my blood boil literally. as for Mr Cameron well all i can say is as time goes by we are finding out his true colours and just shows you what a man he is and they his government are, spineless and gutless, for treating honest, decent people with utter contempt. the only reason he set up the inquiry because he thought it would be a vote booster then goes back on his word because he doesn’t want to upset the high and mighty in society, it as been and always will be them and us and it’s our money what’s paid for it all when we are supposed to be broke the mans a joke. i will be most definitely signing the petition. p.s i apologise for my poor grammer. i wish you and all the other victims all the very best for the future and sincerely hope you get the right outcome which you and the public deserve for once yours sincerely Jeff H.

    Reply
  13. Sally Campbell

    I am appalled by Cameron’s response and support this petition every step of the way.

    Reply
  14. Paul Freeman

    more fool us for allowing ourselves to be persuaded yet again to believe the words of a polititian. “…as long as it’s not bonkers I’ll implement it.” yea. Right.

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  15. Robert Livingstone

    If Cameron is not going to nothing, what was the point of the inquiry ? voluntary system that is like giving the energy companys the right to volunteer to determine there own prices. Camerons a Tory Twerp

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  16. Andrew Fletcher

    I think you are missing a vital point. Anyone should be (and is now) free to publish any true statement that does not breach confidence. Erode that principle and you are on a very slippery slope. The answer is to enforce existing laws not put the press in a state controlled compound.

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  17. Brian Carter

    Even if he now said that he was supporting the recommendations, it’s obvious that Cameron cannot and must not be trusted. He doesn’t care about the victims. He only cares about himself and his nasty friends.

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  18. Wendy Rees

    Leveson took great pains to explain what the underpinning would NOT be yet our weasel press have chosen to misinterpret again. They forget it is their own behaviour that has brought us to this point. They say about freedom of the press. We don’t have a free press we have the voice of Murdoch and other proprietors.
    As for Cameron well as a politician his word was always suspect. He employed Coulson was best friends with Rebekkah Brookes sending her Lots of Love as she Laughed out Loud and knows the Murdochs how unbiased is he? He says it is too difficult to implement – if it is indeed beyond his skill set perhaps he should resign and let us have a real leader. One who stands for a free press not the rabble we have masquerading under flags of convenience

    Reply
  19. Geoff Boswell

    I have written to my MP Chris Grayling as well as signing your petition. I have also shared your web site with my facebook friends and posted my letter there.

    I wholeheartedly support all you stand for in this matter and trust that Cameron does the decent thing. I hope and pray for a better more decent, honest and ethical press in the UK.

    My own private protest is not to buy any newspapers.

    Geoff Boswell

    Reply
  20. D Malcolm

    Enquiries such as that which Lord Leveson ran, are a key protection against institutional failures in Britain; it is important that powerful people can be called to account.
    However the process is completely devalued if, without any parliamentary scrutiny, a single politician can dismiss the recommendations – especially when he was shown to be far too close to Murdoch, Brookes et al in the period when these abuses were taking place.
    It will be bad for Britain if Leveson’s recommendations are allowed to be ignored so easily: inquiries would be nothing more than an expensive talking shop, cynically used to make issues go away, without addressing their causes.

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  21. angus mitchell

    Is it any wonder that Cameron has backed off his commitment when one of his close associates is Coulson who has been openly disgraced. Where does that leave Cameron, Should he be ousted as Prime Minister. You bet he should.

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  22. Dragana Brown

    Great points Ms Rowling and thank you for writing. I raised these same issues in my letter to the PM recently.
    1. From Cameron’s interviews over the last couple of months in particular, it was evident where he stood (against)- in terms of bringing any new laws so that media mayhem may not be allowed. So why go through the enquiry at the expense of everybody? Was he secretly hoping that Leveson would not comprehend the true abuse of women and men in and by the media?? How could he possibly not see it, when it’s so abundant and so evident – it is endemic!
    2. Without statutory support, how can ordinary folks, with ordinary incomes ever get any justice? I know that even people with buckets of money who after a court case or two are prepared to ‘swallow’ many abuse just so they don’t have to go through court again!!!
    Isn’t it ironic, we elect people to represent us, to offer us protection and those same people (David Cameron) turn around and say: no and do what suits them best. Not for a second is Cameron to be believed that he is doing this to protect freedom of speech. He would be protecting Freedom of Abuse!!!

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  23. stephen glentworth

    Mr Cameron again dodges the major issues in the report, he should honor his earlier statement on his commitment to change the press standards, but then again we are talking about mr cameron!!

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  24. Graham Peach

    Well said JK! I had already signed it but having just read your clear, sane and compelling call to arms, I am moved to salute your words with a few of my own.
    This PM will be forever stained and sullied with the vile stench of his own rank hypocrisy (‘lol’ !) … and he will lose more than his job! For if he does not heed your wise and reasonable words (and you speak for the nation) our PM’s initial response to Leveson will be remembered as the weasling cant of a wet and feeble “leader” – more a political sop forever ensnared in the foul-smelling pit of rampant Press power, than a man worthy of our respect … and vote. This will be how history remembers Dave Cameron.

    Reply
  25. Robert Allen

    I agree with everything J K Rowling has stated and also feel duped and angry by Mr Cameron’s reaction to Leveson. I have written to my MP to inform him of my opinion and to state that as a Conservative, I will not vote for the party at the next election unless the Leveson Report is implemented in full and without delay.

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  26. Cllr Andrea watts

    Totaly agree with j k response and very pleased that ed Miliband is backing the course
    David cameron should go he as gone against what he said at the beginning you can’t trust him

    Reply
  27. Brian Smith

    This is just another self-regarding piece from an over-precious celebrity who has done extremely well out of press “intrusion”. J K Rowling, and all the other light weight air heads rushing to support this issue, would still be the unknown non-entities they should properly be were it not for the press promoting them, usually free of charge, in their arts and media pages.
    I have no problem with an improved, strenghthened, totally independent of government, and legislation, press complaints commission but refuse to join these “useful idiots” in their unwitting – they’re not very bright, poor lambs – recruitment by the left in its campaign for control of the press.

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  28. Mike Sharp

    Stop Press!
    Will he / won’t he? Will the Prime Minister face-down the Press? Now if an intruder invades your house you can eject them with all necessary force. If that intruder invades your cyber-life or your personal life and makes a million quid flogging the story you can do sod-all; unless you have the wonga of a Lord. So what’s innit for Big Cam? Not a lot. Restricting the Press will lose him votes, backers and friendly outlets to spin his dubious policies. You do the Maths!
    The Prime Minister goes weak at the knees,
    When asked to tackle Press sleaze,
    To make their editions fly,
    Editors tell lie after lie,
    Journalists accuse us of acts we did not do,
    Then print a retraction and apology on page thirty-two,
    Police and officials openly they buy,
    To dig the dirt on the sly,
    They don’t care who they burn,
    So long as “Loadsa money” they earn,
    Leveson tells them to button their lips,
    So use their piffle to wrap your chips.
    Rappa Blue

    Reply
  29. Amber redish

    Wonderful respose jk. Thank you for speaking up. We must not let this go.. For all our sakes!

    Reply
  30. Marjorie-Ann Watts

    What else one say after all the comments above, including those of J.K.Rowling. On the other hand, we are looking at criminal behaviour which should have been investigated by the police. Perhaps strict new guidelines should be laid down for Police when complaints are received about the press?

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  31. Gordon Cairns

    I have huge sympathy for J K Rowling’s views. We are always lectured about the risks to the freedom of the press. They only deserve that freedom if they act responsibly. Clearly, they have been unable to regulate themselves, and now they need to pay the penalty. I feel heartfelt sorry for those who were courageous enough to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. David Cameron’s response is scandalous. I have lost respect for him. He will pay the penalty at the ballot box. Gordon Cairns, Edinburgh

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  32. Alan Boyd

    Craven Cameron has jumped into bed with the Murdochs and ex editors for a menage a cinq to his eternal shame. No one will trust him ever again. LOL.

    Reply
  33. Chris Moore

    Cameron’s reluctance to adopt the Leveson recommendations only increases my suspicions that our democracy has been tainted by the influence of the ‘free’ press. However free they feel they need to be, they have seriously impinged upon the freedoms of many others. Independant regulation now.

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  34. Sarah Cloutier

    I’m disappointed that Mr Cameron is submissive to the press and not able to stand up and do what is right for the people of the UK. He is the elected leader of this country and he is not taking responsibility for the whole, but bending to a few ‘in power’ to not be the true leader we need now. The Leveson Inquiry was an expensive, time consuming exercise intended to support the ALL the citizens of the UK, with no bias. The outcome should be for the benefit of the whole and a true leader would see the impact on every individual and not the profits of a few. These few have too much power, are unaccountable and teflon. It’s appalling that the recommendations are not being fully considered before being rejected. I agree that all people should have the opportunity to hold the press accountable for lies, intrusion, manipulation and harassment of ordinary citizens. Mr Cameron could have used this as an opportunity to be strong and decisive and make a stand for truth. We will have to wait to see if the PCC is dissolved – and what then will hold the press accountable?

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  35. Philip Ruffley

    It sad to see all types of people tell how the press told the world things about them. And after all that nothing is be done. I hope like me more people will see the wrong doings and sign thier name.

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  36. Mike

    They are not sensible recommendations because it starts the State controlling the media and in a free society that should not be allowed. Unfortunately there were some abuses, these are already illegal under current law so why is a new law required?

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  37. Liamv

    If it comes to a choice between the support of the Daily Mail or the victims, Cameron will always choose the Daily Mail. Period.

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  38. Kenneth Ward

    I Believe something very strange is happening in this country, powerful people influencing government. Powerful people who know what’s right and proper but choose the wrong dark disturbing way and that is the real issue, why are these people choose this dark way. The world is changing and not for the good and it scares me, it really does. The inequality has never been greater. It’s not healthy to want so much money that you could not justify the reason’s you want more to such an extent your prepared to in-flicked great harm on people. It needs to stop or the consequence’s will be unthinkable. It’s the year 2012 and we as a human race after all our bloody history cannot get to a point in history where we are reasonably living in harmony with no one being killed through war or greed. There are still people starving to death on daily basis, people still being kill through war on daily basis. Come on sort it bloody out, i’m ashamed to be a human being. Get a grip mankind just get a grip.

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  39. john walters

    Well said JKR. Cameron and his bunch are totally false; creating circumstances to ensure he and his dross benefit when they are kicked out of government. The press and freedom of speech is pure trash: they seek to publish whatever the feel will increase their profits and power, no matter the cost to anyone or thing. They are not fighting for a freedom other than to make profit. Cameron is a brass-necked liar.

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  40. laurence f.

    though i was already minded to sign this petition electronically, the eloquent statement by jk rowling moved me over the line, and i clicked.
    may i wonder though at this petition focusing on the printed media only. i suggest its scope be extended to the broadcast media, radio and television.

    Reply
  41. Elisha Wilkinson

    The best way to show disgust is not to buy any newspapers. Especially, those owned by news international.

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  42. Geoffrey Watts

    It is surely obvious that Cameron had already decided that he would not use legislation to enforce Press regulation long before Leveson published his recommendations. We are surely entitled to draw our own conclusions?

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  43. Simon Barré-Brisebois

    Thank you Jo for your powerful message. I just signed this petition and encourage anybody to boycott newspapers, and sensationalistic broadcast media appearing whether on the Net or on television, that employ such horrible practices.

    Reply
  44. meme

    You want to give the government the power to regulate speech andcthe press? Worked out great for Nazi Germany, way to go Britain…

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  45. Andrew Young

    I hate to break the news to you but Murdoch ‘runs’ my country (Australia) with inpugnity just like he does the UK. Politicians in both countries kow tow to these so called purveyors of ‘free speech’ whose primary goal is to acrue as much power, influence & money as possible with no regard for anyone who might get in their way. Cameron is an International embarrassment to your once great country – worthless and weak!

    Reply
  46. Tom Chapman

    Over the last year or more I’ve posted many audio/video pieces edited from different USA and UK media sources and posted them on my FB page under the banner “There’s Something About Rebekah”, a tiny parody of the Cameron Diaz movie. You might enjoy some of them, assuming we are all in a festive mood come week’s end.

    Reply

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