Leveson: a devastating case for changing the status quo

Leveson has made a devastating case for changing the status quo of press regulation. A system which abuses many innocent people in an “outrageous” way must be reformed.

History shows us that this is a repetitive problem. In their pursuit of sensational stories, in order to sell more copies, editors and journalists eventually go too far, their behaviour sinks so low that there is a scandal, and action is taken to restore the rule of law and acceptable standards. The system works but at a terrible price including many individuals whose lives are ruined.

The challenge issued by Leveson is to improve the system, to introduce an innovation that retains the integrity of the press and yet provides the protection of the law to individuals.

His recommendations are clear, there should be no restrictions on the freedom of the press. It must be up to editors on a daily basis to decide what can be justified within the law. Editors should be guided in their judgement by their own voluntary code of self-regulation which should also in the first instance consider any complaints by members of the public.

The issue is: what is to be done when that is not enough ,because manifest injustice is being done? Some means of protection and redress must be afforded those who have their rights horrendously and mistakenly abused.

This is the legal ‘under-pinning’ to which Leveson refers. David Cameron’s response is clearly one of naked self-interest as he tries to retain favour with the press. It needs the Liberal Democrats to show that a legal framework is possible.

I believe we need to look at the twin issues of law enforcement and redress for the ordinary citizen. These are the problems, access to justice and enforcement of existing law. If we focus on the victims rather than attacking the media then we will be on firm ground. Neither we, nor Leveson, are attacking the freedom of the press. We merely wish to hold them to account too if they wantonly disregard the law in their pursuit of profit.

Nick Clegg’s response to the report was excellent. This is a key issue on which we can show the difference in values and concerns between ourselves and the Tories.

I hope that the party is actively working with Labour and Hacked Off to produce an alternative draft of legislation to be enacted. If the Prime Minister will not bring it before the house then let us have this as an election issue.

* Mike Biden is an Executive ordinary member in Winchester. A lifelong supporter of the Liberals, he has become an activist since his retirement. His career saw him in senior corporate positions in Sales & Marketing and as a Chief Executive.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Watson 3rd Dec - 11:44pm
    @David Pearce & @Johnmc "The other left parties ..." Tories and Lib Dems look pretty interchangeable as far as voters in Richmond Park are concerned....
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 3rd Dec - 11:35pm
    David Steel is one of the signatories today of a letter to The Times on Lords reform. Previously he achieved legislation which included voluntary retirement...
  • User AvatarPeter Andrews 3rd Dec - 11:20pm
    To be fair to Trump the one China policy is a total nonsense, when the USA clearly supports Taiwan including militarily.
  • User AvatarJohnmc 3rd Dec - 11:02pm
    Indeed. It'd be liberal to give the beggar some cash, suggest they buy lunch and then leave them to make their own decisions, surely?
  • User AvatarJohnmc 3rd Dec - 10:59pm
    The other 'left' parties did contest Richmond Park - I think everyone's forgotten that this used to be a lib dem seat until 'nice' zac...
  • User AvatarJohnmc 3rd Dec - 10:58pm
    It's very likely that the scots parliament could derail brexit. The SNP are assiduous students of the constitution, and while others doze off they will...