Christine Jardine “utterly dismayed” by Leveson statement

Christine Jardine responded for the Liberal Democrats to the Government’s statement that they will not proceed with

Her question is posted below:

As a former journalist, I am utterly dismayed by the Secretary of State’s statement. I value the freedom of the press, but does he not see the sad irony in talking about how the press has held the powerful to account and then closing the door on our opportunity to hold the powerful voices of the press to account on behalf of the victims? Those victims were promised the sort of legislation in section 40 that the Secretary of State is now turning away from. The problems faced by local newspapers and the newspaper industry in general are nothing to do with Leveson; they are to do with modern technology. Will the Secretary of State please reconsider thinking about the victims and giving them a chance to raise legitimate concerns under section 40?

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  • Ian Matthews 1st Mar '18 - 4:18pm

    Section 40 is a deeply illiberal idea – that’s less someone joins a stage sanctioned regulator a media outlet is liable for legal fees of the complainant even if they win. It’s misguided of the front bench to be supporting this.

  • Ian Matthews 1st Mar '18 - 4:19pm

    Sorry that shield read “that unless” not “that’s less”. I blame my ineptitude with the iPad.

  • I notice that this announcement has come on a day when the weather and Brexit will take up much of the news bulletins.

  • Nick Collins 1st Mar '18 - 6:13pm

    This should guarantee the government a “good press” from their brexit-loving cronies in Wapping and Canary Wharf.

  • Graham Evans 1st Mar '18 - 9:47pm

    @ Ian Matthew: I can only assume that you are quite content with the uneven playing field which currently exists between the country’s major newspapers and individuals, or have you a better solution? Just as trades unions were given special protections because the individual worker is powerless compared to his employer, so today it really isn’t good enough to merely proclaim that the remedy resulting from Leveson is illiberal. It is far more illiberal to merely stand by while powerful press barons drive a coach and horses through libel and privacy laws.

  • Ian Matthews. All parties supported what Leveson recommended and that’s why the legislation was enacted. David Cameron made a solemn promise to the victims that Leveson’s very balanced recommendations would be implemented. “State sanctioned” is a pejorative way of describing something that couldn’t be more independent. I take it you prefer the IPSO arrangement which leaves the editors of the Mail and the Sun in very strong positions of influence. Predictably there is overwhelming relief from the news media today. Disappointingly a journalistic conspiracy seems to mean that ITV News at Ten last night ignored the story and so did the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning.

  • Ian Matthews 2nd Mar '18 - 6:41pm

    @grahamevans. Not at all. Let’s find more creative solutions to encourage disruptive innovation in media. Section 49 is bad law – the idea that a business person, politician or celebrity can make frivolous legal sanction against, for example, Private Eye, safe in the knowledge that it won’t cost them a penny will have a chilling effect on investigative journalism and public accountability.

    @johnkelly – no, IPSO is also worse than useless. It isn’t a binary choice. A tribunal system win easy access for quick and legally enforceable remedy would be better than what we have. But my main gripe is the punitive nature of Section 40 forcing the press, whether large or small, to register with IMPRESS. As I said above, it will have a chilling effect on independent journalism and does nothing to encourage new entrants and innovation.

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