Public Figures

Hundreds of leading figures in the world of free expression – literature, arts, science, academia, design, human rights, business and the law – have signed the Leveson Royal Charter Declaration to send a strong message to press bosses: embrace the Royal Charter and give the British public a free and accountable press.

Ian McEwan - Author

“The right to freedom of expression is the bedrock of our liberty. Without it, none of our other cherished rights could have been talked or written into existence. But no freedom is absolute and all rights carry responsibilities. Freedom of expression is not the freedom to bully, to intimidate, to intrude where there is no public interest, or to corrupt public bodies with secret bungs. Leveson, rather like a good, hard-working journalist, exposed many such abuses in the press. The abusers, who are a mighty and self-interested faction, prefer business as usual. But those who value free-thinking and open political process know that bullies and corrupters must be held to account. We urgently need wise and plausible regulation.”

Michael Frayn - Author

“I signed the Leveson Royal Charter Declaration because I believe in both the right to free speech and the right to proper independent redress when that right is abused. Conflicting rights are difficult to reconcile, and the only hope is through the rule of law.”

Dame AS Byatt - Author

“I think that what I care about is that there should be some sort of oversight (regulation) of press excesses and that it should not be in the hands of the press itself. We have seen that that doesn’t work. Equally I don’t really want government regulating the press directly – that could be dangerous in the future. I think Leveson is a workable compromise.”

John Cleese - Comedian and Writer

“The big newspapers bosses are lying though their teeth about the Leveson recommendations. They say their freedom is being threatened, but when anyone points out what self-serving rubbish this is, they ignore these arguments and instead attack the people who are trying to get the truth heard. Their unscrupulousness is breath-taking.”

Irvine Welsh - Author

“The Leveson Inquiry, instigated by David Cameron, has delivered modest proposals for preserving press freedom, by encouraging more responsible behaviour from newspaper proprietors and publishers. Those same proprietors and publishers should now accept the will of the people and implement these sensible recommendations.”

Victoria Wood - Comedian

“Some of Britain’s newspapers are among the world’s finest, and all of them have an absolutely vital role in keeping powerful people and organisations in check. But there can’t be a repeat of the abuses of innocent people carried out by some newspaper groups. Lord Leveson made his recommendations and our Parliament backed them. It’s difficult to believe we’re still waiting for action. It’s time for newspaper bosses to accept that their propaganda on this issue has been seen for what it is. The public wants properly effective and truly independent self-regulation – as laid down by the Royal Charter. And it won’t wait any longer.”

David Mitchell - Novelist

“A healthy democracy requires that conscientious journalists are able to expose political malpractice without fear of reprisals. But a decent society requires that predators and stalkers posing as reporters do not have carte-blanche to maim the reputations and trash the privacy of innocent people, particularly when those people have become newsworthy merely through being involved in personal tragedy. Lord Leveson’s cautious and sane recommendations are the best hope for a generation at striking the right balance between defending free speech and defending the innocent. The Press Charter should matter to all of us, and should be embraced by any serious newspaper.”

Jo Brand - Comedian

“I support the Leveson Royal Charter because I would like to see a free and accountable press untainted by the whims of powerful individuals, the unethical and sometimes illegal acts of those for whom the price is right and the ambition of those who seek to promote themselves…and I don’t mean performers here.”