WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Fri - 22.08.2014


Leveson Inquiry

The cross-party agreement, according to a statement published by the Newspaper Society, "has been condemned by a range of international press freedom organisations," and "has no support within the press" due to the fact that it "gives politicians an unacceptable degree of interference in the regulation of the press."

This latest move by the UK press has placed David Cameron in something of a quandary – the royal charter agreed upon by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties during a late-night meeting in March had been, as deputy Labour Leader, Harriet Harman said, "supported unanimously by the House of Commons and had the full backing of the House of Lords" and was due to go for approval by the Queen at the next meeting of the Privy Council on 15 May.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-26 17:00

Excellent news for "smaller" blogging sites with a turnover of less than £2 million per annum and/or fewer than 10 employees, then, as it has been announced that such businesses will not be subject to the harsh financial damages due to be introduced under the new royal charter (see previous Editors Weblog article on reactions to the royal charter). Small companies who do not consider publishing news as the main part of their business will also be exempt.

Many of the small blogging sites in question will be heaving a huge sigh of relief in the wake of this government concession. Concerns had already been raised over the issue; outrage was widespread over the fact that small-scale bloggers would be subject to the harsh press regulation rules that were intended for the large news organisations responsible for the misconduct which lead to the Leveson inquiry in the first place. This exemption has been made in the form of a legislative amendment to the royal charter agreed upon by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties. The amendment is due to go before the House of Commons for debate later today, 22April.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-22 16:22

Hailed by Black as a "hammer blow to investigative journalism", the Charter has also fallen under attack from former Guardian editor, Peter Preston, who recently expressed his lack of faith in its ability to make any real difference to the issue of press accountability as it stands today.

So just why exactly has the Charter been condemned by journalists and news executives as an unacceptable resolution to the on-going dilemma of press regulation in the UK, aside from the fact that it is underpinned by law, and therefore implies a degree of government control over the press? Will it actually change anything? Is it a system that is any more likely to hold the press to account than they have been already?

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-03 12:11

The agreement, which The Guardian lays out, will create a regulatory body to replace the Press Complaints Commission. The new group will be capable of directing apologies and corrections from news organizations and enforcing fines up to £1 million.

Critically, the regulator will be established through royal charter rather than law. However, a clause will be inserted to Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill that states that all royal charters cannot be amended without meeting the requirements laid out in the charters themselves. In this case, this charter will say that it cannot be modified without agreement from two-thirds of both houses of parliament.

While Prime Minister David Cameron maintains that “it’s not statutory underpinning,” Clegg and Miliband both address the clause as such. The clause makes no mention to Leveson or press regulation; rather, it encompasses all royal charters.

“What we wanted to avoid and have avoided is a press law,” Cameron said.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-03-18 18:45

‘There’s been huge hysteria in some branches of the press in the last two days, saying we’re going down the road of Zimbabwe, that we’re going to be another Kazakhstan – that’s nonsense.’ So said Stephen Pritchard, readers’ editor of The Observer, in an interview with me last week in the aftermath of the Leveson report. He’s right, of course: feverish and emotional editorializing from so clear a vested interest as the tabloid press, particularly in light of the disgusting behaviour that presaged the inquiry, can easily be dismissed as fundamentally unserious. Yet the danger of allowing extreme examples advocated by discredited sources to cloud legitimate concerns over the independence and freedom of the press has been starkly illustrated today, in the story of Maria Miller and the Daily Telegraph that ought to serve as a cautionary tale for those inclined to take such freedoms for granted.

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-12-12 19:13

In the third instalment of our series of interviews with knowledgeable figures in the wake of the Leveson report, I sent some questions via email to Professor George Brock. Professor Brock has been the Head of the Department of Journalism at City University London since September 2009, and before that spent 28 years at The Times. He is a former President of the World Editors Forum.

Editors Weblog: Do you agree with Lord Justice Leveson that 'this is not, and cannot be characterised as, statutory regulation of the press'?

George Brock: It's not statutory regulation of the press but it does introduce an element of statute where none has operated before. That's not without risk.

Putting the issue of whether or not this regulation should be statutory, do you agree in principle with the sort of body that Leveson proposes to establish?  

Yes, I think it would be an improvement on what has gone before – most particularly the "arbitral arm" which would promise quicker, cheaper redress in cases of defamation of invasion of privacy. The length and cost of cases has been a major issue and tipped the scale too far in favour of big media.

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-12-10 17:15

In the first of a series of interviews with prominent figures in the aftermath of the Lord Justice Leveson's report into press standards, I talked this morning with Stephen Pritchard. Pritchard is serving his second term as president of the Organisation of News Ombudsmen. He is the Observer's first readers' editor, a post he has held since 2001. Before taking up the role he was the paper's production editor and managing editor. His speech on Leveson to the World Editors Forum in Kiev earlier this year can be read here.

Editors Weblog: The obvious first question to ask is perhaps the most controversial, namely: do you agree with Lord Justice Leveson when he states that ‘this is not, and cannot be characterised as, statutory regulation of the press’?

Stephen Pritchard: I do agree, yes. He went out of his way to emphasise his support for a free press, and felt both that this is not state control and should not be seen as state control. 

He said that it [statute] was an ‘essential’ component to ‘protect the freedom of the press, to reassure the public, and validate the new body’. Do you think all three of those reasons are equally valid? 

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-12-04 17:11

‘Proustian’ is right. As predicted, Lord Justice Leveson’s report, published at 1.30pm this afternoon, is no pamphlet, running to four volumes and over 2,000 pages. What follows, therefore, is an attempt to briefly summarise the findings of the report and its reception amongst journalists and politicians, to be followed (possibly tomorrow) by a longer analysis of its recommendations.

The report itself breaks down into three main areas, the first of which concerns the relationship between the press and the police. Leveson finds that, whilst there was no endemic or institutionalised corruption in the force as a whole, several poor decisions were made during the original phone-hacking investigation. In response, the judge makes a number of minor recommendations, including the introduction of the practice of recording the interaction between police officers and journalists on a regular basis.

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-11-29 19:35

A ‘dossier’ signaling an imminent ‘coup’ from that ‘incestuous […] quasi-masonic nexus’, the ‘Left’s old boy network’; it could only really be one UK newspaper, couldn’t it. Never one for sending its cavalry round the flank, today’s Daily Mail charges headlong into the boggy mire of the Leveson battlefield, bayonets fixed and ready for a scrap. Over the course of its front page, five subsequent double-page spreads and its main leader column, the paper marshals a typically uncompromising thesis of corruption, cronyism and general left-wing Establishment conspiracy which, it fears, threatens to inveigle the otherwise irreproachable Lord Leveson’s august inquiry down the path of unrighteousness, imperiling freedom of the press and the world as we know it. Or something like that.

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-11-16 19:22

‘By golly, it’s political, this Leveson business’. So says Quentin Letts, prolific freelance journalist writing for the Press Gazette, and it’s difficult to disagree with him. The delay in publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the culture, practices and ethics of the British press has exposed a vacuum into which the various vested and political interests of core participants have been aired, and Letts seems to speak for much of Fleet Street when he says that the British Establishment, in its response to the phone-hacking scandal, ‘has over-reacted like a coach party of goosed mother superiors’.

Evidently, his is also a political opinion, with Letts a card-carrying member of the ‘do-nothing’ party. Such an attitude is unsurprising: what is notable is the extent to which whole media organizations are flagrantly jockeying, lobbying and positioning, actively attempting to influence the landscape of the media in the aftermath of the inquiry. 

Author

Frederick Alliott's picture

Frederick Alliott

Date

2012-11-13 19:33

Syndicate content

Editors Weblog

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


© 2013 WAN-IFRA - World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Footer Navigation