/ Leveson and Cameron's Response
Does anyone else think it stinks?
I'ms sure he'll discuss it with Rebekah over country supper...
I too am confused.
Seems like a huge waste of money just for a Tick-box exercise.
Very much so. What's more, the only justification he seems to have come up with is that "The danger is that this would create a vehicle for politicians whether today or some time in the future to impose regulation and obligations on the press."
I find that particular offensive given the number of times that similar objections have been raised to laws passed by recent governments curtailing individual liberties, and brushed off with claims that yes it says that but you can trust us never to actually exercise those powers.
I really hope that line comes back to haunt him one day, unlikely as that probably is.
oh dear, they spent all that time and money coming up with this:
to summarise...famous people have feelings too.
FFSake it's not hard. He's worried about a bunch of illiberal statist politicians controlling the press.
Personally I'm with clegg on this bit it's a close call.
Printed media is dying. We need an independent regulator with powers in law to oversee any "news" outlet, be it newspaper, tv , YouTube video or twitter comment. Either a statement is a personal opinion and subject to freedom of speech with caveats for libel, or the output from a news source and subject to guidelines from the regulator. There should be no way for anyone not to have to answer for unfair or incorrect allegations in the way the papers have.
> FFSake it's not hard. He's worried about a bunch of illiberal statist politicians controlling the press.
> Personally I'm with clegg on this bit it's a close call.
Doesn't help that he's sunk to the nuts in the Murdochs and their cronies though, does it?
I'm not entirely sure how the setting-up of an *independent* regulator suddenly heralds the introduction of a British Pravda, with the press as puppets of the politicians.
* I quite fancy fish and chips...
I'm not sure it's the setting up of an independent regulator that's causing angst but the setting up of laws to "punish" journalists if they step out of line. Let's face it, the the laws that are already in place to deal with this area (super injunctions, libel) are pretty powerful if you have the money.
> Doesn't help that he's sunk to the nuts in the Murdochs and their cronies though, does it?
Of course not but he's hardly robinson crusoe in that
Cameron has made the inquiry worthless by refusing point blank to consider Leveson's proposals.
I would be interested however, in finding out if Leveson has actually suggested how his changes could be easily implemented. My understanding based on news tonight is that they could take years to happen.
I haven't read a synopsis but will be interested to do so.
One thing about Cameron, he's very skilled and able. And now he's channelling all his immense skills into seeing just how many potential voters he can lose before the next election. As he is being so daring and single-minded in this latest quest, I have to wish him all the best of luck in achieving his aim.
> Cameron has made the inquiry worthless by refusing point blank to consider Leveson's proposals.
Where was that then?
Personally I'm with clegg on this bit it's a close call.
I think Cameron is being a bit cleverer about this than people are giving him credit for. For the legislation to work it sounds like it will have to be very complex; you can't employ a broad brush without being accused of state censorship and you can't be too precise or it will be toothless in the courts. The all too common issue of "mission creep" needs to be avoided and while I think we will probably end up with legislation it is better if we look at it as an assistant rather than step1.
Is this not good enough?
There's something wrong with not wanting to go down as the history as the person who licensed the press?
If you want to be cynical then why not just say he's worried by his restive backbenchers and leave it at that?
I'm genuinely confused: can someone please explain why it apparently makes perfect sense to treat broadcast and printed media completely differently with respect to regulation and licensing?
As things stand, if the press libelled or defamed you or I, we would simply have to lump it. At best we might expect an apology printed in small letters on page 18. We certainly couldn't afford to risk everything we had on launching a civil case against the press. Regardless we would have to live for the rest of our lives with lies and false stories perpetually circling on the web.
Maybe not, but I would like to see a politician stand up to the press for once. I don't think the general public particularly like the way the press operate and the public certainly don't like the way our politicians pander them. At the end of they day this report only really effects a tiny proportion of the people in this country yet given the coverage in the press, you would think that it was 9/11 all over again.
His first comment demonstrated that and was ill considered in my opinion. The press need controlling in an attempt to avoid the recent problems. The press have showed that they were incapable of self regulation.
I don't think anyone want to legislate against behaviour. I think you need to read the actual report.
What people want is legislation to give an independent body the power to not only report potentially illegal activity but also to check that the company makes necessary changes to prevent this happening again.
Consider an analogue to health and safety. Breaches can be prosecuted criminally eg, in the case of manslaughter. But there is also the ability to inspect and fine breaches that have the potential to cause problems. The regulator (in this case the HSE) handles both.
So in the case of phone tapping - those who committed offences under the communications act should be prosecuted. But if the newspaper had no system for checking whether the journalism was being carried out legally then this needs to be put right.
If anything this improves freedom on information - because not only will we know what the papers say, we'll know if they are trustworthy.
> His first comment demonstrated that and was ill considered in my opinion. The press need controlling in an attempt to avoid the recent problems.
You think that can easily be done without, for example, reducing the chances of the press publicising phone-hacking, politicians fiddling expenses and so on? I don't think there is an easy solution so am happy for Cameron to be cautious. Levenson has done an excellent job identifying the problems. However, I don't see why he should be regarded as having the expertise to suggest a solution that should be adopted uncritically.
Not really in my opinion. Something needs to be put in place so that they wouldn't have acted like that in the first place.
The question now is what should be done but I haven't got time to work out the answer.
Like I said before Levenson needs to show how to implement his proposals and I don't know whether he has somewhere within the report.
And I'll read the report if you do.
> As things stand, if the press libelled or defamed you or I, we would simply have to lump it. At best we might expect an apology printed in small letters on page 18. We certainly couldn't afford to risk everything we had on launching a civil case against the press. Regardless we would have to live for the rest of our lives with lies and false stories perpetually circling on the web.
Why not simply re-write the UK's libel laws if that is such an issue?
I agree with you that there is no easy solution but the PM has indicated that rather than being cautious he will not take Levenson's advice.
Again I agree that Levenson has done an excellent job but as this is a difficult issue it would be helpful to illustrate how the changes could be made.
One thing to be aware of is that there have been quite a few inquiries over the years but all have bulked at making major changes. I think it's time to do something significant.
Great point. I believe that in France an apology has to be printed with the same prominence as the original piece - same lettering and position. Anyone in France who can add to this ?
> Great point. I believe that in France an apology has to be printed with the same prominence as the original piece - same lettering and position. Anyone in France who can add to this ?
Not having children, but having been one, I also understand a parent will dictate the nature and extent of an apology from one warring sibling to another in the event of a dispute.
Hmm - I see your point ! :)
I've heard that too.
I think Leveson is proposing something like Ireland has - a body set up by statute but independent*. I think it's voluntary for publishers but it gives membership gives legal advantages if things go to court and seems to be quick/effective for complainants.
I think apologies have to be printed on pages 1-4 rather than hidden away.
*not sure who appoints adjudicator and pays the bills though.
No. And it isn't my proposed legislation, it is Leveson's, for a watchdog backed by statute. It basically means that there is a forum for bringing complaints against the press and if they have been deemed to have stepped over the line, there is a recourse for the victims. The current system of self regulation just doesn't work.
The press don't seem to like this very much and are harping on about interference from politicians even though Leveson has categorically stated that his law would actually enshrine the concept of a free press free of metalling from politicians.
I also don't understand why there is such a stink about regulation, especially when broadcast media is regulated by Ofcom.
Indeed, but as a civilisation, we generally do the right thing because we know there is a dobbing great big stick waiting to hit us if we do the wrong thing. The libel law is only worth the paper it is written on if you have lots of money and there is currently no other recourse for complaints against the press.
The inclusion is always voluntary. But there is an incentive. If you don't join your legal costs in the event of successfully defending a claim can be much higher.
You take a risk based decision. Are you the kind of media outlet that publishers potentially dangerous stories or aren't you. If you don't think it applies you don't join.
I think you don't understand how the current situation work. If a newspaper publishes something incorrect (and libellous) what do you think happens?
What should happen if:
(a) Journalist lied, editor didn't know (ie, journalist lied to editor too)
(b) Journalist lied, editor did know
(c) Journalist made an error, editor didn't have a process to fact check
(d) Journalist made an error, editor did have a process to fact check and also made an error
Because at the moment you've got to go through a civil case (too costly for most people) to get compensation and an apology. Then you have an internal matter at the paper.
There is no requirement for the paper to show who knew, who made mistakes, and crucially are they fixed in the future.
This is what a regulatory body does - they set an acceptable procedure and check it's being carried out.
1 Leverson was asked to make RECOMMENDATIONS. He has done so and now it is up to politicians to consider whether to adopt them. If they just nod them through without consideration they have abdicated their responsibility on a very important matter to a single judge.
2 On a wider note, I was amazed listening to the radio this week to hear a couple of journalists from Germany and the US who said that the whole business was being watched very closely in other countries. In the wider world there is apparently great concern that if the UK, seen as a standard bearer for democracy and liberty, introduced anything that could be seen as state licensing of the press other less savoury regimes would use it as an excuse to gag their own press even more harshly.
Looking over the news this morning it came as no surprise to find the huge list of stories the newspapers have
1. Made up
2. Lied about.
We absolutely want a free press but they absolutely must not be allowed to get away with doing the above. People and organisations must be held accountable and punished for this type of behaviour.
Based on personal experience of both major and minor stories I've seen covered in the press from science and engineering, medicine and climbing/mountaineering I have nothing but contempt for journalists and believe nothing I read in the papers. This should not be the case.
I can't see how us implementing a form of regulation for newspapers would impact on places like Saudi Arabia or even allegedly moderate counties like India which see a lot of political intervention into the press, and private individuals who post opinion on Twitter.
Also, why is this solely being discussed in terms of what Cameron thinks. He's not a president - he's a PM (and one without a mandate)?
Finally, for those saying how clever he's being about it, it doesn't look clever to me to state publicly, in two separate ways (the "bonkers" comment and then the "Dowler test") that he would adopt the recommendations and then have to backtrack.
Do you think the broadcast media is controlled by parliment?
There seems to be a view, which is slightly strange in my view, that simply because Cameron has said he has reservations about the use of statute, he's chucked everything out and we'll be hobbling along in the same way as before.
As an alternative, it's possible that we're at the start of the negotiating process, and that the final shape of the outcome is a long way off. It might have been better if the Leveson proposals had been adopted immediately, but I'm not sure there's a problem with allowing some calm consideration and close scrutiny.
One thing I am fairly sure about is the all the media noise about assaults on press freedom is nonsense. Broadcast media are already subject to statute. Our judges are appointed by Government. Just because we have statutes and Government appointments doesn't mean Governments have their hand in every pie and are pulling every string.
> Do you think the broadcast media is controlled by parliment?
Depends what you mean by 'controlled'. I think the fact that the BBC knows it's licence fee and charter have to be reviewed by the government/Parliament does lead to a certain degree of self censorship which is sometimes more obvious than other (eg post Hutton and to a lesser extent now post Newsnight). It does lead to some daft decisions and kneejerk reactions (eg Newsnight having looked weak for ditching the initial Savile story decides to re-establish its credentials and go all macho and gung-ho on McAlpine and drops an even bigger goolie. The press too has been much more cautious post Leverson. How long it lasts is another matter.
The BBC is in a special position because of its licence fee, but all broadcasters are subject to the same degree of regulation through Ofcom. How this affects programme decisions is impossible to say, but if there is some self-censorship, this isn't necessarily a bad thing if it prevents the kind of excesses which we've seen in the print media.
I disagree. But in any case, we have/had/possibly will have again a situation where the press controls parliament, and where they act with complete impunity in ruining people's lives. Something has to change from that.
The judiciary is established through statute, and (I think) judges appointed by the Govt, without the Govt running the judicial system. There's no reason why it can't work with the print media, especially as Leveson recommends enshrining the freedom of the press in law.
I don't really understand this argument. The judiciary are controlled by statute but they aren't under the control of parliament. Leveson was quite clear that any regulator of the press would not allow MPs or members of the press to be a part of it.
> Do you think the broadcast media is controlled by parliment?
Not while I can watch broadcast media from any country in the world.
> His first comment demonstrated that and was ill considered in my opinion.
You mean the bit where he said he had "serious misgivings" and we "should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech" or the bit where he launched cross party talks to consider leveson's recommendations?
> You mean the bit where he said he had "serious misgivings" and we "should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech" or the bit where he launched cross party talks to consider leveson's recommendations?
"should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to upset my good friends in the overwhelmingly right-wing media, who I employed as my right hand man and with whom I regularly met for country suppers. Until they were arrested..."
> "should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to upset my good friends in the overwhelmingly right-wing media, who I employed as my right hand man and with whom I regularly met for country suppers. Until they were arrested..."
As opposed the those on the left, who were never knowingly in contact with members of the third estate, but who are prepared to sacrifice the age old principles of a free press in order to muzzle those elements of it with an opposing political view.
> As opposed the those on the left, who were never knowingly in contact with members of the third estate, but who are prepared to sacrifice the age old principles of a free press in order to muzzle those elements of it with an opposing political view.
Something needs to be done. Forget right and left. Now is an opportunity and politicians should work together across all parties to make the relevant changes. Nobody wants to stop a free press in this country but the press have to change. It's as simple as that.
This is unbelievable! Really? WTF do they think we're on?
So barmy it's almost like an April Fool.
This is even more proof that we need a change of government. What a bunch of w***kers !
Appears fairly obvious to me. He knows without the help of the press his chances of retaining his seat, let alone win the next election, are perilous, so he doesn't want to annoy them?
strange most of the people commenting dont seem to have a specific view and the some of the worse papers political views seems to be whatever the proprietors view on a random subject is (purely by chance of course) rather than specific party lines. You sure you reading stuff into this which doesnt exist?
The press have failed badly, question is whether as Ian Hislop and co think if the current laws would be effective enough if properly enforced or whether something more direct is needed.
It wouldnt be so bad if the press had shown some competence in catching scandals but the mainstream media seem several years, or more, behind when it comes to picking things up.
A very sensible statement by JK Rowling. Thanks for posting.
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