The Leveson round-up

Posted: November 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

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:

David Cameron:

‘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.’

Nick Clegg:

‘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

Ed Miliband:

‘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.

8 comments

  1. susan dunn - reply

    An intelligent, informed free press is humanity’s defence against a Big Brother world.
    Lord Black – an expert?

  2. Roland Browne - reply

    It is important that the recommendations of Lord Leveson’s report are implemented in full. It is the moral duty of our Prime Minister, government and MP’s to fulfill their role in ensuring that this takes place.

  3. Derek Grainge - reply

    WHy was David Cameron in a position to say what he did about not wanting regulation, about not crossing the Rubicon? I suggest an inherent weakness in his position, frstly because he was and is too close to many in the press, and secondly because of his relationship with the right wing of his party, who would take great delight in giving him the sack. What he said in Parliament after Leveson’s report was published doesn’t square with his previous position. Which is fakery? His concern for the McCanns and Dowlers, or his concerns for press freedom?

    There is a deep divide between Cameron’s position and what the public have to say. Nick Clegg, for one, knows that.

  4. To believe that you can have a free press that is at the same time under a statutory regulatory body is to think like a child.
    Your campaign is a campaign against free speech.
    Free speech is no guarantee of good speech. But only with free speech can bad speech be answered.
    That it was the press – and not any statutory regulatory body – that exposed the problem of phone hacking just goes to show that there is nothing wrong with free speech that more free speech cannot solve.
    Or, we can go the other way, and let these appointed guardians of public morality come between us and our own freedom.
    The irony is that this legislation will only help to bring closer the end of any print-based press in this country. A great victory that would be, to close down the presses, and leave news in the hands of the internet.
    Get your tanks off my lawn, Hacked Off.
    If you don’t like the press, don’t read it, but most of all don’t ruin it for those of us who do want a free press.

  5. RL Willott - reply

    Is Lord Black is a convict, who served time in America and as such is the last person who should be sitting in the Lords or suggesting how newspapers should be regulated?

  6. Simon Marshall - reply

    Surely the Prime Minister should have given due time to read and and consider the Leveson Report before announcing his reaction to it. By immediately rejecting Leveson’s primary proposal, he is betrayed as having a closed mind right from the start. I can only presume he expected the report to conclude differently. This indicates that Leveson did have an open mind, and was convinced by the evidence. Cameron should honour his own process, and help to ensure the press acts responsibly and takes due care to publish the truth.

  7. jeremy worth - reply

    I suggest a simple way to make the editors of newspapers think hard about the value of the lies they propagate. it would work like this:

    as things stand now, any story that turns out to be malicious and false requires a published apology, it should be an absolute legal requirement that instead of being buried on page 9 in small print the apology should be printed in the identical type face and font size, and placed in the same position on the same page as the original story.

    Would this be difficult to instigate? No, Would it be easy to argue against? No. Would it make the apology valuable and likely to satisfy the victim of the smear? Yes. Would it make anyone assessing whether to publish a story that was of doubtful veracity think twice? Yes.

    It seems such a simple change that would have little real impact on the day to day running of a responsible newspaper, but when an editor is tempted to ruin the life of some unremarkable individual without the means to defend themselves he would think twice if his paper’s apology had to be splashed across the front page in the headlines.

Leave a comment