LibLink: Anthony Lester – My vision of a Leveson law

Liberal Democrat peer Anthony Lester has written for the Guardian about his independent Press Council bill which he introduced in the House of Lords yesterday.

If his measure became law, it would be the Supreme Court rather than OFCOM which would ensure that the independent self regulatory body was genuinely independent and complying with the principles Lord Leveson set out in his report.

Writing about the need for legislation, Lester wrote:

Statutory underpinning is needed to compel ministers and others to uphold freedom of speech and of the press, and the independence of the new press council. This aim cannot be achieved by contract alone because a contract does not bind third parties or affect the role of the courts. An act of parliament would also provide a powerful incentive for publishers to join the new system and abide by high professional standards. The incentive is contained in my bill by widening the public interest defence in claims of libel and media intrusion on personal privacy where a newspaper or its editor or staff can show that they have acted responsibly in news gathering and publishing, in accordance with the standards and practices prescribed by the press council. The courts would take that into account, making it much less likely that a publisher would be found liable for alleged wrongdoing.

He outlined what he was trying to achieve in the Bill:

I have sought to provide a framework of principles, rather than a code of detailed prescriptive rules, keeping the bill’s clauses to the bare minimum, and leaving the scope and machinery of the press council to be worked out by the promoters of the scheme. If something on the lines of my bill is approved, only a future parliament enacting primary legislation will be able to amend or abolish the act. That, and the role of the president of the UK supreme court as validator – and the safeguard of judicial review for lapses by the press council – are all designed to enhance much needed public confidence in independent self-regulation.

You can read the whole article here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in LibLink.
Advert

One Comment

  • How incredibly sensible. So what chance of it succeeding under t’Coalition?

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 AvatarGordon 1st Oct - 7:48pm
    Syria's tragedy is that there are three overlapping wars being fought out in its territory. Some are calling it the "first theatre of WW3". Scarily,...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 1st Oct - 7:45pm
    As a recent broadcast showed the Met Office as made huge strides since Michael Fish made his famous forecast. We remember it well, a row...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 1st Oct - 7:39pm
    Paul We do campaign as you say on bread and butter stuff, but I think we have often been drawn in to extolling the EU...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 1st Oct - 7:30pm
    Barry There is a lot of stuff I didn't mention, not just wealth creation. As you noted, I have only 500 words - LDV like...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 1st Oct - 7:28pm
    Stevan Rose: Continuous pressure is needed. There are severe flaws in US democracy. What they do affects us all, for instance George W Bush invaded...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 1st Oct - 7:24pm
    Phil It doesn't really work to say neoliberal is an abusive term. I'm not using it abusively. I am using it in the sense you...