PRESS RELEASE: Hacked Off response to Culture, Media and Sport Committee submission to Government’s Leveson consultation
The cross-party House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has strongly criticised the press for is failure to comply with the recommendations of the Leveson Report and has urged the Government to set a deadline for compliance. The Committee has also said that the Government should proceed with Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry.
These points were made in the Committee’s submission to the Government Consultation on commencement of the section 40 “Leveson incentive” and Leveson Part Two which it has published today.
In a unanimous submission, the Committee was critical of the press campaign of misinformation around section 40 and the Leveson system:
“In response to the Secretary of State’s consultation, there was a high‐profile campaign by the press protesting over the Royal Charter process, which they argued was the imposition of “state‐backed” regulation. Some of the arguments put forward were, in our view, unconvincing and misleading…” (P15)
The Committee goes on to criticise the industry for failing to reform after Leveson:
“It appears to us that the press finds itself again confident of resisting substantial change four years after the Leveson Inquiry… we believe that the industry should now be set a definite deadline by which to become Leveson compliant.” (P19)
Commenting on the Committee’s submission Hugh Tomlinson QC, Chair of Hacked Off, said:
“This submission, which recognises the benefits of section 40 for a free and accountable press, is the latest indication that Parliament is running out of patience with the Government’s interference in press regulation. The Committee has not allowed itself to be misled by an aggressive and campaign of misinformation by the press during the consultation period.
“The Committee notes that IPSO has not actually carried out any regulation. The scheme of arbitration which it offers is neither low cost nor compulsory as Leveson and the Select Committee require it to be”.
“The Government should listen to Parliament, victims and the public and stop interfering in the Leveson system of press regulation by commencing section 40 immediately, as Parliament agreed and intended. The press should abandon their campaign of misinformation over section 40 and offer their readers the protection they deserve by creating or signing up to a regulator independently recognised as being fair and effective.”
Commenting on Leveson Part Two, Hugh Tomlinson QC added:
“There is no legitimate reason to abandon Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry – which will look into press and police corruption and the systematic wrongdoing by newspapers over many years. We welcome these moves by the Select Committee to hold the Government to account over their promises to proceed with it. The Terms of Reference for Leveson Phase Two were agreed with the victims of abuse and phone hacking in 2011, and any change to the Terms must be agreed with those families.
Hacked Off is the campaign for a free and accountable press. The Campaign works with victims of press abuse to achieve those aims.
Hacked Off’s own submission is published here: http://hackinginquiry.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/HO-Consultation-Submission-10.1.17.pdf
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