On the eve of the vote on Leveson amendments to the Data Protection Bill, over 100 leading academics have written to Parliamentarians urging them to back reform.
Please find the letter in full below.
A letter from 126 professors, teachers and researchers at 35 universities in support of the Leveson amendments to the Data Protection Bill
We are university teachers and researchers in the fields of journalism, media, politics and law. We are writing to ask you to vote in favour of the Leveson amendments to the Data Protection Bill, which will be debated on 9th May, because we believe these measures are needed to protect and foster good journalism in this country. We are certain that they pose no threat to the freedom of journalists to perform their vital democratic tasks, nor to the future viability of local news.
We consider Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry to be a vital step in rebuilding trust in British journalism at a time when trust is desperately needed. Only through independent public scrutiny will the necessary lessons be learned from years of wrongdoing at national newspapers.
Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act should be commenced, even in the limited form provided for in this amendment. It is a helpful incentive to news publishers to engage with regulation in a form that is properly independent and effective, as Parliament envisaged in 2013. It is also designed to give publishers and journalists welcome protections from bullying by the wealthy and litigious.
The nature of these measures has been wholly misrepresented by large parts of the newspaper industry, for their own ends. We urge you to reject their propaganda. This country needs good, trustworthy journalism and we want those graduates who choose journalism as their vocation to be able to deliver it. These measures will promote rather than hinder a free and inquisitive press, so we ask you to give them your support.