Tag Archives: press complaints commission

As Leveson reports… Why I’m sticking up for ‘Press freedom with no buts’

Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal will report this week. His recommendations on the future of press regulation are the subject of intense speculation, with essentially three positions being staked-out:

What’s being proposed

‘Independent regulation backed up by statute’
Advocates, who include Evan Harris and the Hacked Off campaign group, argue that the only way to ensure the press does not abuse its position in the future is for it to be regulated. But, they insist, this should be independent both of government and the press, the two main …

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A five point plan to reform the media post-Leveson

As investigative theatre goes, the Leveson Inquiry has been top-notch. As a route to embarrassing individuals for their past performance, it has excelled. As a way of unearthing previously secret information, it has been gripping.

But as a route for reforming the media? That’s a rather different story.

Some things have already been achieved. The Press Complaints Commission has already been sent to the retirement home for failed regulators and politicians have already been shamed into distancing themselves from newspaper moguls. It will be a long time before Ed Miliband repeats this sort of photo op, for example.

There is, however, an awful lot left to do, especially as Lord Leveson has not been looking at the underlying causes. As I wrote much earlier in the proceedings:

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The flaws in Ed Miliband’s media policy are no cause for rejoicing

It isn’t often that the members of one party should be worried about a proposed policy from a rival party’s leader collapsing under examination. However, David Elstein’s demolition of Ed Miliband’s proposal to limit ownership of newspapers by circulation should not provide more than a passing smile to Liberal Democrats, for it highlights the difficult of coming up with any meaningful change in the rules over newspaper ownership.

As David Elstein puts it:

Ed Miliband has proposed a 20% limit on ownership of national newspapers, measured by circulation. As the Sun’s circulation is more than 20% of all national newspaper sales, that would require News International to close The Times and either sell the Sunday Times or reposition it as a non-national newspaper (by ceasing to publish in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, where would-be readers would have to subscribe digitally). Even then the Sun’s circulation would need to be forced down, perhaps by restricting access to newsprint. In all likelihood any such measure would result in the combined circulation of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday rising above 20%, so requiring similar measures to be targeted at them.

Banning a newspaper from appearing in parts of the UK? Making it illegal for a newspaper group to buy ‘too much’ paper? There are just too few newspaper titles with a mass audience for restriction on ownership by circulation to be practical.

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LibLink Nick Clegg: Regulating media, empowering citizens

Nick Clegg has a piece in Huffington Post UK today, on media regulation, responsible reporting and replacing the Press Complaints Commission.

He calls new news outlets, such as the newly-launched UK version news and comment website Huffington Post, “a welcome breath of fresh air” at a time when public confidence in the media establishment is being rocked by phone-hacking allegations.

Here’s an excerpt:

The hacking scandal throws up an array of insights. But one in particular stands out to liberals: information is power. It always has been. When elites deploy secretive and opaque practices, it is nearly always to protect their own

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats didn’t just avoid Murdoch, we tried to cut him down to size

In my last post for Lib Dem Voice, I pointed out that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems had never courted Murdoch and his cronies.

Actually, that was just the half of it.

We didn’t just avoid him. We have tried, in different ways over a number of years, to cut the media mogul down to size and clamp down on the sort of abhorrent media practices that have been exposed of late.

As far back as 1994, the year before Tony Blair chose to fly to Oz to lick Rupert Murdoch’s boots, we were calling for the OFT …

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“The pillars of the British establishment are tumbling” – Clegg

The Independent features an interview with Nick Clegg, given on Friday during his visit to Paris.

He speaks of “politicians falling to their knees ingratiating themselves with media moguls”, “too many vested interests tied up with each other” and “a culture of arrogance and impunity” as he lists the casualties of recent crises: journalism and hacking, MPs’ expenses, and banking.

Here’s an extract:

The deputy prime minister senses a rare opportunity in the hacking scandal to carve out a separate niche. The Liberal Democrats have never wooed or been wooed by the media moguls. Unlike David Cameron and Ed Miliband, Mr Clegg

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Video: Clegg says PCC is “a busted flush” and “needs to be replaced”

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