Tag Archives: leveson inquiry

Small-scale blogs to be excluded from post-Leveson media regulation

A week ago I posed (and answered) the question, After Leveson: which blogs are to be regulated? Answer: no-one yet knows. Well, we do now know.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) yesterday announced a ‘refinement’ of the Leveson legislation included within the Crime and Courts Bill. And it confirms that small-blogs are no longer to be expected to join the proposed self-regulator (though they can do if they wish):

The amendments, which have cross-party agreement, make clear that small blogs will not be classed as ‘relevant publishers’, and be considered by the House of Commons on

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After Leveson: which blogs are to be regulated? Answer: no-one yet knows.

Leveson report front pageI was one of those invited to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) this week for what was termed a ‘Small scale blogger stakeholder discussion’.

A quick reprise of why:

  1. As I posted here three weeks ago, concerns about the legislation are widespread and include both those who are pro-Leveson and anti-Leveson.
  2. Civil servants at the DCMS are now scrambling within a very short timescale to try and make sense of the cross-party legislation passed by the Commons to implement the Leveson Report through a Royal

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Government pauses on web regulation to ponder question, “What is a small-scale blog?”

A follow-up to my weekend post, Bloggers unite to oppose “botched late-night drafting” that proposes new press/web regulation, highlighting the concerns of many — including the Hacked Off campaign group — that politicians’ hasty law-making had resulted in legislative over-reach.

lord mcnallyIn the House of Lords last night, the Government accepted an amendment that will exclude from the Royal Charter-backed independent self-regulation plans ‘A person who publishes a small-scale blog’.

How ‘a small-scale blog’ is defined will be consulted on by the culture, media and sport department. Patrick Wintour in The Guardian reports this as “a miniconsultation with the newspaper industry on how best to construct a workable definition of the bloggers”, which would be an, erm, interesting way of going about it.

Here’s what Lib Dem justice minister Lord (Tom) McNally told peers:

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Bloggers unite to oppose “botched late-night drafting” that proposes new press/web regulation

I’m one of 17 signatories (on behalf of LibDemVoice) to a letter published in Saturday’s Guardian, reproduced below, which opposes the “fundamental threat” of the draft legislation approved this week by MPs of all parties which would regulate blogs and other small independent news websites.

It’s not often you’ll see us, ConservativeHome, LabourList, Guido Fawkes, Liberal Conspiracy and Political Scrapbook agree on something. But what we term the “botched late-night drafting process and complete lack of consultation” has, for once, brought us together. And, as the letter notes, perhaps even more remarkably got Tom Watson and Rupert Murdoch agreeing, too.

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Nick Clegg’s statement to the Commons on press regulation

clegg on levesonLast night we published Nick Clegg’s email to supporters setting out his views on press regulation. Here’s the text of his full statement in the Commons yesterday:

Mr Speaker, when Lord Justice Leveson published his recommendations, the Liberal Democrats supported them. I agreed with his basic model of a new, independent self-regulatory body for the press…
With a new recognition body authorised to check, periodically, that the system is working properly.

Given the importance of the relationships between politicians, the public and the press… I said at the outset

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Nick Clegg writes… Press regulation: a liberal solution

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has written to party supporters tonight…

Having been in face to face negotiations till nearly midnight last night – followed by calls, texts and emails for many hours afterwards – I am delighted to have stood up this afternoon in the House of Commons to welcome the cross-party agreement on implementing the Leveson Report. It wasn’t easy but after a lot of hard work – led on our side by the tireless Jim Wallace, we have got there.

The Leveson Inquiry was established after public revulsion at the phone hacking scandal. So, when Lord Justice Leveson published

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “Protecting individuals and press freedom”

Nick Clegg’s latest email missive arrived in my email inbox this weekend. Two odd things about it…

First, as Paul Walter and Jonathan Calder have already picked up: the absence of any mention of last weekend’s debate on ‘secret courts’. I understood why it wasn’t mentioned in his leader’s speech last weekend: he wanted to keep the media’s attention focused on the party’s core message. But if we go back to the original intention of the Letter from the Leader, it was – as Nick himself wrote in the first one – “to give you a bit more of an insight into what’s going on behind those Whitehall doors and how we, as Lib Dems, are dealing with the issues and challenges that come up.” Hands up all those party members who think Nick’s lived up to that pledge on secret courts?

The second odd thing is the repeated request to send us to a paywalled website to find out more about Nick’s plans for Leveson: that’s right, Lib Dem supporters are invited to hand over money to Rupert Murdoch to get the party leader’s views on how the Lib Dems intend to crack down on the abuses perpetrated by Rupert Murdoch’s company. Now, I’ve already made clear my disagreement with Nick on this issue. But I’ve no doubt he’s speaking for the majority of party members in backing a Royal Charter to implement the Leveson Report. Yet instead of directing them to a Lib Dem website, or capturing emails via a Lib Dem petition website, the Leader’s Letter invites supporters to bump their head against a paywall and make their views known through a third-party website. Neither are especially smart.

My gripes over — read on…

libdem letter from nick clegg

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