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.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/31928 for Twitter and emails.
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.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

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

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 30th Jan - 2:03am
    Glenn, I would say the basic rate of income tax is a better indicator of public willingness to pay - and governments' interpretation of that...
  • User AvatarAdrian PR 30th Jan - 1:57am
    In response to Stephen Johnson: This isn't really what you want, but the Legislative Council in Victoria (Australia) has used a form of STV with...
  • User AvatarAdrian PR 30th Jan - 1:54am
    Anthony Tuffin writes: > Adrian PR repeated an old fallacy, “STV is not very [party] proportional, just “proportional enough”.” Leaving aside the other parts of...
  • User AvatarT-J 30th Jan - 1:52am
    On the subject of the article, I totally agree. Individual voter registration just makes more sense, at least to my idea that the individual constitutes...
  • User AvatarJohn Lister 30th Jan - 1:39am
    It's by no means perfectly proportional, but I like the two-birds-with-one-stone idea of replacing the House of Lords with a chamber made up of the...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 30th Jan - 1:16am
    I wouldn't get so annoyed if the moaners and whingers didn't sound as though they will be so pleased if the Party did actually lose...