Guide on how to respond to the Consultation
Please help in one of two ways, either click here to send a template response or fill out the online response form on gov.uk by following the instructions below.
Respondents should go to the consultation homepage at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-leveson-inquiry-and-its-implementation
Scroll down to ‘Respond Online’ and click on the link
Introduction – click ‘Next’ at bottom of the page
Q1– tick box ‘Individual’ (not ‘Organisation’) and ignore Q2
Q3 – tick the box which is relevant (lawyer/academic/neither)
Questions on section 40:
Q4 “Which of the following statements do you agree with?” – tick box 2 ‘Government should fully commence s.40 now’
Q5 “Do you have evidence in support of your view?” – tick box ‘yes’
Q6 “Please provide the evidence which supports your view”
Answer (max 250 words):
This consultation is no substitute for Leveson’s 15-month inquiry which concluded, after receiving evidence from hundreds of expert witnesses, that that there should be new costs rules to incentivise publishers to join a recognised regulator.
Parliament enacted section 40 on the basis that it would be commenced, not that commencement was discretionary.
On the contrary, the Government promised the public and Parliament many times that the incentives in the cross-party agreement would be delivered.
Victims of press abuse need access to justice to take action against those newspapers who have not accepted Leveson style approved regulation. S.40 delivers that.
It is clear that many newspapers will not sign up to independent regulation without powerful incentives.
Members and prospective members of IMPRESS need and expect section 40 costs protection, and the full of extent of any s40 competitive advantage against unregulated publications.
The regulatory landscape has not changed significantly since 2013 – IPSO is not recognised and falls well short of the standards set out by Leveson and the Royal Charter.
The press industry has provided no hard evidence to back up their claims that:
– unregulated local newspapers would face a flood of legitimate court claims and adverse costs awards, under section 40
– local newspapers would face a flood of arbitral claims if they joined a recognised regulator, and in any event the Charter protects them from financial damage.
The suspension, amendment or proposed repeal of section 40 constitutes clear Government interference in press regulation policy, which damages the public interest.
Q7 “To what extent will full commencement incentivise publishers to join a recognised regulator?” –
The only way to know is to commence section 40. No-one can say whether an incentive will prove effective. The nature of an incentive as opposed to compulsion is that the effect cannot be definitively known before it is in place. We need s40 in place to know if self-regulation can still work.
Questions on Part II of the Leveson Inquiry
Q8 “Do you believe that the terms of reference of Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry have already been covered by Part 1 and the criminal investigations?” – Answer ‘no’
Q9 “Which terms do you think still require further investigation?” – Answer: tick all of the boxes
Q10 “If you have evidence to support your answer, please provide details below.”
Answer (max 250 words):
All the terms of reference still need tackling, and since Part 1 and Part 2 were established, the case for Part 2 has strengthened in a number of ways:
- New evidence has emerged about a range of abuses and criminal conduct that took place at the News of the World, The Sun and newspapers owned by other companies
- There has been a finding by a High Court judge in May 2015 (Gulati vs MGN Ltd) that executives from Trinity Mirror actively misled Leveson Part 1 under oath
- Evidence exists from new whistle-blowers that other witnesses to the Inquiry’s first phase gave false or wrong evidence
- Following the inquest verdicts of unlawful killing, Hillsborough families deserve to know the truth about the role of the press and the police in the cover up
- Daniel Morgan’s family agreed to the terms of a non-judicial Inquiry Panel into his murder, understanding that any questions that were left unanswered would be dealt with by Leveson Part 2, led by a judge with the powers to compel witnesses and gather evidence
- No executives have been properly held to account for the corrupt payment scandals, while more junior journalists were prosecuted
- Mazher Mahmood’s convictions reveal his evidence to Phase 1 of the Inquiry to be false, and there is evidence that the police knew this
- Victims and whistle-blowers were told that their evidence was essential to the Inquiry but could not be considered until Part Two
Q11 “Which of the following options best represent your views?” – Answer: Tick the first box ‘Continue the Inquiry with the original or amended Terms of Reference’
Q12 “If you think the Government should take another course of action to those set out in the question above, please provide your views.”
The Government should continue with Leveson 2 with the same Terms of Reference as was promised to the Dowler family in 2011. If the Government have any intention of breaking their commitments over Leveson 2, including to alter the Terms of Reference, then they should seek the consent of the Dowler family and others to whom that promise was made in 2011.
It is only after Leveson Part 2 is completed that OfCom would be properly able to make any new assessment of whether James Murdoch, the Chairman of Sky, and the CEO of Fox Inc (which owns either 39% or 100% of Sky depending on the merger outcome) is “fit and proper” to hold a broadcast licence.
Click ‘Done’ to submit your response