The results from the General Election are in: over 50% of voters backed parties which have supported the Leveson system. But unfortunately, under our electoral system, it wasn’t enough. The Conservative Party, whose manifesto threatened to betray the victims of press abuse and endanger the limited progress made over the last nine years, were elected with a majority of MPs.
As campaigners and supporters who care deeply about press regulation, genuine freedom of the press, and media accountability, this outcome is disappointing.
We thought that elements of the industry were in a bad state before, with press barons and unscrupulous editors able to run riot. With a more compliant Government, victims of press abuse and harassment face the prospect of even less protection. This is outrageous.
But please be assured, one thing is for certain: our need is now greater than ever because the worst of our press will be completely off the leash.
We are confident that, with the support of you, victims of press abuse and the wider public there will not be another five years of failure. Together, we are stronger.
Most of all, thank you deeply for your wonderful support this year. We have achieved record amounts and we have so much more to do.
Here’s a round-up of everything we’ve achieved, thanks to you:
1. At the end of last year our annual Leveson Lecture was delivered by James O’Brien – keep your eyes peeled for announcements on this year’s lecture, which has been delayed due to the election.
2. In December last year, a Hacked Off backed campaign pressured the Government into changing its code of practice on detaining terror suspects at borders, to ensure protection for journalistic sources. This is part of our ongoing work fighting for media freedom where it is truly threatened.
3. In January News UK, which owns The Times, The Sun, and their Sunday versions, applied to weaken the binding protections in place to prevent the Murdoch family from reducing quality at The Times. Thousands of you urged the Government to reject the application.
4. In February, we published an open letter on press racism to IPSO, which was signed by thousands of you, including activists, well-known people, and other key figures – including dozens of cross-party MPs and Peers.
5. In March, our collective voices highlighted the destructive role traditional media played in the wake of the Christchurch attacks and Hacked Off corresponded directly with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s office before the “Christchurch Call” summit, sharing our concerns.
Almost 6,000 of you who wrote to the Government asking that the “Christchurch Call” pledge apply to newspapers and websites, alongside social media companies.
6. In April, we published a video game created by Dan Hett, brother of Manchester Arena attack victim Martyn Hett. His family suffered terrible press intrusion and abuse after Martyn’s death. The game, ‘Sorry To Bother You,’ simulates the experience of grappling with dozens of messages after a tragic event: some of them from kind friends, others crude, intrusive, or otherwise inappropriate messages from journalists.
7. In May, our report, ‘Inflection Point,’ was published on how edited footage from the Christchurch attack was being actively published by newspaper websites after New Zealand police had called for footage to be taken down, and while Facebook was working hard to shut down the video from their platform. The report found the Sun, Mirror and Mail shared footage of the attack which was likely to reach over a million people.
8. In June, we launched a crowd-funder which exceeded our targets – thank you to everyone who generously donated so we could keep fighting for truth and accountability.
9. In July, we published a report highlighting press abuse of, and inaccuracy in relation to, transgender people and the law on transgender equality.
10. In August, IPSO appointed a politician as its new Chairman. Hacked Off led a campaign to defend British journalists from politician-led regulation with 50 leading co-signatories which gained almost 4,000 signees.
11. In September, Gareth Thomas, Ben Stokes and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke out about their treatment at the hands of the press. Thousands of you lobbied your MPs to demand that they act to end ‘victim journalism‘.
12. In October, IPSO ‘celebrated’ its 5th Anniversary party. Together, we led an online protest rally, making huge waves online and showcasing the five main failures of IPSO since its inception.
13. In November, many of you wrote to your Parliamentary candidates seeking commitments on Leveson ahead of the General Election.
Thank you for your tremendous support.