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Leveson Inquiry Report is Not about Press Freedom!

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Politics and the Miracle of Parliament Square - George Osborne!
Politics, Racism, Sexism, Ageism and Equality do not = Common Sense!

Well there we have it, after all the drama of the hearings we have the Leveson Report which suggests an independent regulatory body under pinned by legislation and I applaud David Cameron and William Hague’s reluctance to proceed in this direction.

The split in the coalition with Nick Clegg giving an alternative response to the report and together with Ed Miliband encouraging total implementation of the Leveson Report is a split along democratic lines and is a serious threat to our freedoms and standing abroad.

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David Cameron was right to set up the Leveson Enquiry although he must be wishing he hadn’t given the problems it has presented him with so what was this really all about, basically phone hacking, without phone hacking there would not have been an enquiry and press intrusion, did we find anything out we didn’t know or suspect, not really.

The ethics of papers like the News of the World in particular but in practice most of Fleet Street were reprehensible and deserved serious punishment in law and whilst we have to have feelings for the victims, not talking about the celebrities for whom I have no sympathy but the real victims every wrong doing was or is being punished under existing British Law and that is how it should be.   

The perpetrators of these sordid crimes would not know an ethic if it ran them over and belong in the gutter where they have been operating but they have been brought to justice, many have served or will serve prison sentences and their careers are rightly over but legislation to control the press in any form is highly dangerous and a direct threat to our treasured democracy, we cannot go down this path!

 

There is something uneasy about the way some of the celebrities want to continue twisting the knife when all they are really trying to do is to make a truly free press pass into history, also none of what Lord Leveson really addresses the fact that paper media is shrinking, being replaced by the internet through Twitter, Facebook etc but where ever the news/reports come from they must be kept out of political control and legislating to restrict the press. whilst apparently innocent is the first step in that direction because believe me if the politicians don’t make use of it the celebrities will!

Let us look at the party divisions, the Lib Dem’s are trying to force full implementation of Leveson but the Lib Dem’s are the ultimate left-wing anti-democratic party, totally sold on the European Union (EU) like the EU the one thing they are not about is democracy, their pet project is proportional representation (PR) and the only thing PR delivers is government without accountability and a cushy haven for politicians who don’t have to deliver on their manifesto’s because all policy is decided after the election!

PR can be made to sound like the ultimate democratic system but what it actually delivers is the politics of committees and the smaller party with little support getting a totally disproportionate say in the government of this country, as witnessed in the current coalition because PR would deliver a coalition every time and virtually guaranty the Lib Dem’s power. It is true to say that with PR no body gets what they voted for but the smaller parties are no longer the protest vote, they very nearly run the country!

With regard to the Labour Party, whilst no one could call the last Labour government democratic, they treated parliament with contempt along with their own back bench MP’s, lied to Parliament, politicised both the police and civil service, led us into illegal wars, created the surveillance society with thousands of camera’s and produced false evidence to support the Iraq war etc. there is though a strong movement within the Labour Party supporting and understanding the importance of a free press and despite Ed Miliband’s support for implementing Leveson in full I can see another alliance between Conservative and Labour back benchers defeating any attempt by the Lib Dem’s to implement Leveson.

The press are making out these rebellions are bad but I don’t think so, it is good that the back bench MP’s keep the executive in check, it hasn’t happened for a long time and it is good for democracy and would have stopped the antics of the last Labour government in its tracks!

So what has to happen now, firstly Cameron must stand firm and secondly the press must get together to show that they have learned from Leveson and can put together a new and robust press regulatory, it must be very tough but totally free from government and David Cameron along with the Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Maria Miller will meet with main body of the press this week but the new regulatory body must be mapped out within weeks before the pro Leveson snowball gather pace and it is in the interests of basic freedoms in this country that it is made to work. The onus is now on the press and they must deliver this regulatory body with a standards code, arbitration service, rapid response complaints system and real power to demand prominent apologies and impose hefty fines that really hurt but free of government.

Remember, in the words of Maria Miller, “our press keep us informed, they move us, sometimes they shock us, they entertain us and, at their best, they have an identity that their readers can come to love. Our press , at its best, is the enemy of corruption and mendacity and an institution that millions in other parts of the world look at with deep envy.” 

However. with this vast privilege comes equally heavy responsibility and it is this responsibility that the press must now address with urgency and honesty because if they don’t our treasured and admired fee press could be slipping away, we will never get it back!

One thing the government has to ensure is that the ordinary individual has the same ease of access to redress as the over egoed celebrities who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and after all, without press interest these celebrities would be an ordinary person in the street!

There are obviously lots of conflicting views on this subject and everyone’s view is important to the debate so tell us what you think by commenting below and if you found this article interesting please like us on our Facebook page by clicking below.  

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Further reading

Press ‘need to act’ after Leveson

Gushing papers laud Cameron’s stance on press law

Leveson wants to press-gang media into flawed system

Leveson report: government prepares draft bill – live coverage 

Leveson: a clever report – but why the silence on ownership

Leveson: Judge’s prescription to cure the industry’s ills proves a hard pill to  swallow for wary media

The British press is still trapped in a fight for survival

Leveson: 50,000 Sign Hacked Off Petition

Leveson law would undermine Britain on world stage, says William Hague 

Politics and the Miracle of Parliament Square - George Osborne!
Politics, Racism, Sexism, Ageism and Equality do not = Common Sense!
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