The Leveson round-up
At the end of this month Lord Justice Leveson will announce the results of his inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press and his recommendations for a new more effective policy and regulatory regime.
Hacked Off have rounded up the public positions of some of the inquiry’s key figures in advance of the announcement.
What the papers say:
The Telegraph Group have joined forces with News International, the PCC and the Society of Editors to support a coalition titled the ‘Free Speech Network’. The key document for the newspaper barons is the Hunt-Black proposal, named after the Tory peers Lord Hunt (Chair of the PCC) and Lord Black (Exec Director of the Telegraph, Chair of the Press Standards Board of Finance). Their proposal is for continued self-regulation, dressed up as “independent” regulation. Richard Desmond’s Express Group, the Guardian, the Independent and the Financial Times have not signed up to it and it is unclear whether they will do so.
What the victims say:
More than 60 victims of phone hacking and other press abuses sent a letter to the Prime Minister regarding Leveson. In the letter, they rejected the continued self-regulation that has been proposed by Hunt-Black and backed by the Free Speech Network (the body that includes many of the publications that perpetrated these press abuses), and urged politicians to give Leveson’s recommendations a fair hearing.
What the politicians say:
‘We should, as I say again, bear in mind who we’re doing this for, why we’re here in the first place, and that’s the real test. If the families like the Dowlers feel this has really changed the way they would have been treated, we would have done our job properly.’ Evidence to Leveson, 14/06/12
‘It can’t be self-regulation, it has to be independent regulation.’ Evidence to Leveson, 14/06/12
To Hacked Off in 2011: ‘If it’s not bonkers, we’ll implement it.’ Asked last month if this was still his position he said: ‘Absolutely.’
‘We’ve asked Judge Leveson and his colleagues to do a job . . . and assuming he comes up with proposals which are proportionate and workable, we should implement them. Simple as that.’ Leader’s Q&A, Lib Dem Conference, 23/9/12
I actually agree with David Cameron… Can we look Milly Dowler’s mother and father in the eye… and say: ‘Mr and Mrs Dowler, what happened to Milly, what happened to you… the way in which the press acted as if there was one rule or one law for them and another rule and another law for others, has been dealt with by the Leveson Inquiry and this government is acting upon it’? Q&A, Lib Dem Conference, 23/9/12
‘Politicians must respect, protect and promote proper press freedom.’ Witness statement to Leveson, 12/06/12
‘A new body should have clear independence from those it regulates and freedom from political interference.’ Witness statement to Leveson, 12/06/12
What the experts say:
26 of the country’s leading professors in journalism, law and politics expressed their opposition to the Hunt-Black proposal, arguing that their scheme was “an attempt to perpetuate self-regulation by editors, an approach that has been shown over nearly 60 years to have failed both journalists and newspaper readers”. Read their letter here.
What the public say:
78% of the public have agreed the need for a public independent regulator with statutory backing.
67% of the public believe that the test of a new regulatory system is that it satisfies the victims of press abuse.