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Leveson - the aftermath

jondf 11 2.7k
3 Dec 2012 4:16PM
Ultimately you hope that people will act with fairness and tact but it must be the case now that legislation is introduced to rein in the excesses. I think the majority of people are more concerned with hounding and harassment for no good reason other than to boost sales. It's a game of pot luck in which innocent people's lives are pointlessly and carelessly destroyed.

Anyhow, the Hacked Off petition's hit 132,000 and climbing. If it continues at the current rate, it's public opinion that'll have the final say.

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mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2012 4:43PM
I think we need to be careful quoting 'public opinion'. Phone hacking had been known about for years before it hit the headlines big time. Papers had been taken to court and damages awarded against them - and the public did not care. And if it had not been linked to the highly emotive case of a child being murdered, they would still not care.
This is developing along the same lines as the Dangerous Dogs Act after kids were savaged by evil-looking dogs and the government acted because they had to be seen to be doing something amidst the public outcry. And they acted against a lot of good advice to the contrary and we ended up with poorly thought-out and unworkable legislation. I am still undecided on this, but I am wondering do we want to take that gamble with press freedom?

Quote:rein in the excesses

What excesses are you thinking of?

Would a viable alternative be that any newspaper with a circulation in excess of a pre-specified number of copies (or website hits) will have to by law be a member of an organisation whose composition is defined in statute: let's say 30% ex-(not serving) editors, 30% legal bods and 40% lay people (themselves could be one of religious denomination, one charity worker etc). And any decision is legally binding rather like ACAS in industrial disputes.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
3 Dec 2012 9:24PM

Quote: I really couldn`t give a toss about celebrity culture, its the average person on the street that really needs protecting, if you have ever been on the receiving end you would know what it was like

Bang on.
3 Dec 2012 9:42PM
again some posts have had to be removed, please be civil with each other and not go over old ground.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
3 Dec 2012 10:13PM
The PCC`s code of practice has been around since 1991 with some big changes being made following the death of Princes Diana.

I was surprised to read that this code of practice is also written into contracts of employment, yet its often ignored.
jondf 11 2.7k
22 Dec 2012 11:24PM
So pleased for Hugh Grant that justice has been done. I used to ridicule him and his films, imagining him to be little more than a puppet with a marketable face. However, events this year have shown him to be an articulate and courageous champion who felt compelled to stand up for what he stood for....if you get my meaning? Smile Well done sir! (and all his damages to be donated to the HackedOff campaign!)

jondf 11 2.7k
14 Mar 2013 6:44PM
I repeat: "It seems that David's going to let his friends off the hook ......disgraceful!"
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
14 Mar 2013 11:09PM
The main thing is to make sure the press is shackled. Especially that Private Eye which runs an awful series called Rotten Boroughs which purports to expose corruption in local councils.

And the Daily Mail which ran a disgraceful campaign to bring the Stephen Lawrence's killers to justice. And as for the Telegraph which ran that disgraceful campaign against MPs and their expenses, well we need a body to regulate them to stop these outrages.

It would be far better for all of us if we didn't know about all these things, would it not? I hope so because in the name of throwing throwing bones to Hugh Grant, we hand power over what we are allowed to know to people who have an interest in us not knowing what is going on.

Some folk here would be happier in Putin's Russia than a rumbustious western democracy, it seems.
jondf 11 2.7k
15 Mar 2013 7:58AM

Quote:The main thing is....

.....that this is a big issue and to contrast it with the examples given where justice was done doesn't mean the media should be able to systematically and covertly invade privacy to dig for a story, or worse, to make stories up. The Millie Dowler scandal revealed the inordinate lengths these people will go to in the name of profit. Be interesting to see now the outcome of all the arrests and cases pending against individuals who in some cases represented the highest levels of national newspaper management.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2013 8:59AM
I am not sure that anyone has convinced me what any new regulations are aiming to achieve - the phone hacking is already illegal as shown by the prosecutions being brought. What will new regulations bring to the table?
If people are just fed up of lurid tittle-tattle headlines then reducing those will require a level of censorship and Lemmy's points are very valid.

If people are asking only for a stronger 'right of reply' through a Press Complaints Commission version 2 that has more teeth then fair enough, but that should only be able to act after the fact. Max Moseley's suggestions of being able to vet/block publiction ahead of time is way too dangerous.
lobsterboy Plus
14 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2013 9:07AM

Quote:The main thing is to make sure the press is shackled. Especially that Private Eye which runs an awful series called Rotten Boroughs which purports to expose corruption in local councils.

And the Daily Mail which ran a disgraceful campaign to bring the Stephen Lawrence's killers to justice. And as for the Telegraph which ran that disgraceful campaign against MPs and their expenses, well we need a body to regulate them to stop these outrages.

Just because you have done some things right, doesn't mean you get to do what you like the rest of the time. I'm sure Harold Shiipman often prescribed the right medicine, yet those pesky politicians still wanted to regulate his murdering activities.
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2013 9:37AM
Lemmy - in what way would Leveson's proposals have stopped those investigations?
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
15 Mar 2013 11:03AM

Quote: in what way would Leveson's proposals have stopped those investigations?

What he wants effectively is the same regime that doctors and lawyers have. There is something to be said for that except for one thing which is that it only works if you are forced to join up - and that can only be done if in order to work in a profession you must be licensed.

If you don't join up you are threatened with a regime so tough that no-one would risk anything. All the things the press did that were wrong were already illegal . It's just that no-one did anything.

Who is a journalist? Is the blogger, the tweeter, in Syria a journalist? Yes, of course they are. Is the man writing a blog on his local council's corruption a journalist? Yes he is. The great thing about being a journalist is that everyone can be one, there is no entrance exam or governing body.

Lobsterboy's Shipman point is valid but remember that doctors DO have the regime that Leveson wants for the press. It works well, does it not, the health regulatory system? Otherwise we would have hospitals covering up appalling treatment of patients and.....Shipman.

There are perfectly good ways of curbing press excesses - we had one with the Press Council. Unfortunately good old British corruption, the sort that only exists in other countries, of course, meant that NI executives and others went on holiday and out to dinner with the chairman of it.

This knee jerk reaction to problems in the UK, always short term half thought out fixes, is becoming endemic. It's a sign of our slow slide into the third world. The Labour party wanted ID cards (remember them?) to stop bombers....except the bombers would have been entitled to have cards as British citizens. The Terrorism Act? First person charged, a woman walking her dog in Bristol dockyards. 90 days in jail without charge? Even the Russians balked at that.

Yes, it seems to me that we need more half-baked legislation that will never be enforced because the courts will hack holes in it. Private Eye themselves have said that many of their corruption investigations would be curbed because they simply could not take the risk of upsetting people in high places. They don't want to be put out of business by liars like Chris Huhne, who will say and do anything to cover for themselves. Like Hugh Grant, If you'd have been caught on the street with a hooker and didn't want your fans to know - bad for business - you'd want a controlled press wouldn't you?

My view is that we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We are kept in the dark already - remember the Iraq war? Remember the Labour party's attacks on the BBC? They could silence the BBC because they control the BBC's license fee life blood. but they didn't silence dissenting newspapers. They must be really hoping Leveson is implemented in full. Licensed journalists, just the job!
mikehit 8 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2013 11:18AM
The issue about licensed journalists is certainly one that I agree with: a beefed up PCC will only work if papers are forced to abide by PCC decisions and relies on papers being forced to sign up to the system.
The legal backing for a PCC mark 2 sounds good in theory, but my main concern is that introducing a law often creates doubt more than it eradicates it. With a voluntary PCC people will know instinctively what is right and wrong and people will accept a bit of give and take to reach a 'reasonable' decision but all the time decisions are taken around a widely accepted 'norm'. Once lawyers and courts get involved grey areas are exploited, the law 'creeps' with each judgement and that 'norm' moves in a direction the public rarely want: things become allowed not because they are acceptable but because the lawyers have argued that it is not forbidden.

On the other hand, how do you discipline a newspaper who refuses to abide by a voluntary PCC code? What incentive is there?

At the end of the day, I find it hard to put a compelling reason for a legal framework. The reason the press excesses happen is because the papers sell money yet the public bury their heads in the sand and continue buying the papers.
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
15 Mar 2013 11:35AM

Quote:yet the public bury their heads in the sand and continue buying the papers.

I think we'd both agree that that is the central problem! If people didn't buy them, they'd change their ways faster and more deeply than any legislation could ever make them do. But...people do buy them, usually while denying it and expressing hatred for them. A bit like those closet gay clerics who disparage homosexuals while making a grab for the nearest choirboy Wink

I'd never argue for papers right to do anything they want but if only right and wrong in this context were black and white. In practice one person's black is another's white where news is concerned. I always laugh about people who want 'objectivity' from newspapers or TV. The BBC do their best, I imagine to be 'objective' within the meaning of the act. Yet they are accused by some of having a leftist agenda, by others of being the voice of the establishment. You pays yer money and makes yer choice....

One observation, isn't it nice that something like this can be discussed rationally here, yet for our politicians is subject to the usual Punch and Judy all journalists bad/ all journalist good party political routine?

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