Lord Leveson report: key points and link


2:20 pm - November 29th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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HERE IS THE REPORT IN FULL

Some of the key findings

• Not convinced phone-hacking was confined to one or two individuals.

• Newspapers have recklessly pursued sensational stories

• Families of famous people have rights to privacy

• There has been “a willingness to deploy covert surveillance, blagging and deception in circumstances” without public interest justification

• Failure of compliance and governance at the News of the World

• Phone-hacking complainants not taken seriously enough

Key Recommendations

• An independent self-regulatory body underpinned by statute. It should be free of “any influence from industry and government”. Should have the power to fine newspapers up to £1m or 1 per cent of turnover for breaching a new code of conduct

• A First Amendment-style law to protect the freedom of the press

• New body should have the powers, be able to offer remedies and hit with sanctions. New body will not have power to prevent publication of any material

• A new watchdog should have an arbitration process in relation to civil legal claims against subscribers. The process should be fair, quick and inexpensive.

• If companies do not join the independent regulator, they should be policed by the watchdog

(hat-tip Guardian and the Telegraph)

Update: Ed Miliband’s (very good) statement is here.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


The hacking news story came to light because Clive Goodman, the News of the World’s Royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire, a commissioned freelancing investigator being paid an annual retainer of over £100,000, hacked into Royal mailboxes to reveal to their readers news about a minor injury to Prince William’s knee. So much for the fearless concern of News International, owners of the NOW, to protect the public interest.

I would have been more impressed had that paper gone to press with important news about Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith while they were still alive.

Cameron is kicking for the long grass. That keeps dip shit Clegg on board.Nothing will happen, and tories will go into next election promising not to do jack shit about media. That ensures the rabid media will stay on side, and be even more vicious than usual. It will also keep media scrounging Boris and Gove off his back.

Dave of course will shed the usual upper class tear for the poor sods who have been turned over by the feral beasts of the media. Saying how terrible it all is, and saying this really really really is the last chance saloon.

@ 1 Bob B

I agree. However, in fairness it should be pointed out that The Sun – NOW’s stablemate – DID report on Savile when he was still alive, albeit near the end of his life. They were silenced with injunction (Britains wonderous libel laws) and the now famous photo of Savile at Haute la Garenne was covered up.

It may be that,in addition to any First Amendment style law and a new regulator with teeth, our libel laws could do with an overhaul. As long as the rich and powerful can use libel laws to silence genuine public interest stories they will continue to get away with whatever they want.

“I would have been more impressed had that paper gone to press with important news about Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith while they were still alive.”

Was there any? There was never any trial, so we can’t in good conscience call those people guilty. Speculation about the dead is just that.

As we now know, David Cameron is on friendly terms with Rebekah Brooks, previously CEO pf News International, with all those emails to her he signed off: LOL

Whenever it comes to typing the name of Rebekah Brooks, I get this powerful feeling that the “k” really should be printed backwards.

And Cameron appointed Andy Coulson, NOW editor at the time of the amazing revelations about Prince William’s knee injury. In the public interest, of course.

Cameron was so impressed with Coulson’s media abilities that he appointed him Director of Government Communications, reportedly on the advice of George Osborne. Mind you, Coulson knew absolutely nothing about Glenn Mulcaire’s hacking for the NOW even though Muclaire was being paid an annual retainer of more than £100,000.

As we now know from the news, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are now on trial for assorted offences so we can’t say more. Viva Press Freedom. As Tom Mockridge, the new CEO of News International, has said in his interview by the BBC Today programme, with 7 million readers, who can say The Sun is wrong? Indeed.

And Leveson also:

1. rejected claims (by Millipede)of an inappropriate relationship between the Government and News International over the BSkyB takeover

2. gave Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne a clean bill of health.

3. allowed the Prime Minister to deliver a brisk slap-down to the Labour leader’s old boss Gordon Brown, who had wrongly claimed he had been the subject of a great News International conspiracy.

No one with a brain cell thinks Leveson got everything right. So funny seeing the usual knuckle dragging trolls picking out the bits he got wrong.

Everybody knows that the Murdoch fix was in on Sky. Hunt flys to California to be wined and dined by Murdoch. Returns to uk, where 2 days later Murdoch sprog meets Cameron to tell him Murdoch papers will support tories. No nothing to see here move along. Then Brooks is quoted as saying my job is to get Cameron into number 10. (Funny that, I thought she was employed by Murdoch not tories) oh of course, it’s the same thing.

Tories leaking constantly to Murdoch confidential information. So Hunt advisor takes blame and resigns. (Quite common in tof circles for staff to be sacked for masters screw ups.) Despite Hunts complete fuck up gets promoted by Cameron in reshuffle.

Think Leveson missed the ball there. But then in fairness Cameron refused to pass on key e mails, and many of NI were destroyed. Still the tory troll is a tribal, fanatical extremist. So his inability to see reality is not surprising.

8. So Much for Subtlety

• An independent self-regulatory body underpinned by statute. It should be free of “any influence from industry and government”. Should have the power to fine newspapers up to £1m or 1 per cent of turnover for breaching a new code of conduct

• A First Amendment-style law to protect the freedom of the press

So … he wants a body appointed by the government to oversee the press, and punish it with serious sanctions if they publish anything that upsets this quango, but he also wants a First Amendment to protect their rights to publish whatever they want, free from threats of punishment from the government or any unelected quango they happen to appoint? Wow. We are dealing with a serious intellect here.

He is proposing a major change to the British constitution. Perhaps the biggest change since the side lining of the House of Lords in the 1920s. A change for which there are things to be said on both sides. I think the bare minimum we are owed is a serious discussion. And this is not it. This does not even come close.

• New body should have the powers, be able to offer remedies and hit with sanctions. New body will not have power to prevent publication of any material

No, they can’t prevent publication. They can just drive any newspapers that defies them out of business. Again, the quality of the thinking here would disgrace most Sixth Forms.

• If companies do not join the independent regulator, they should be policed by the watchdog

So they can choose to be regulated by the government or they will be forced to be regulated by the government? Amazing.

Self-regulation of the press by the press has manifestly failed. As one glaring example, consider the £600,000 damages and costs won by Charlotte Church from News International for hacking her phone to find and report in the News of the World confidential medical details relating to the healthcare treatment of her mother:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17178550

To claim that it is a matter of public interest to be free to report the medical treatment of a private person with no public persona is totally absurd. The fact is that self-regulation by the press is completely toothless in preventing this kind of outrageous invasion of privacy. The absurd claims show just how intellectually and morally bankrupt parts of the press are. The interview on the BBC Today programme of Tom Mockridge, the new CEO of News International, with his rhetorical question: How can 7 million Sun readers be wrong? is a clear indication that the editorial criterion for publishing a story is not the public interest, or the truth of a story but whether the story sells more newspapers, no matter what else.

The worry of parts of the press is that independent regulation by independent regulators in a statutory body will provide effective recourse against abuses by the press and be able to apply sanctions.

As I see it the changes proposed are the bare minimum to make the existing system mean something rather than nothing.

As I understand it the press remains self-regulating in the sense that it continues to set its own rules. The only significant difference is that now there are more likely to be consequences for elements of the press that breaks the rules. Rules they themselves make and agree to. What a luxury! Setting your own ethical charter. It is just a basic requirement for transparency that those rules will be public. And a basic requirement for meaningfulness that there are some mechanisms of enforcement (which are independent of the press).

In any other field, I assume any press of social value would want such regulation as less than a minimum on an industry which has repeatedly destroyed people’s lives with impunity. It would campaign for it. The only elements of the press that can genuinely be worried about any state enforcement role would be those which take the view in all areas that the state is too untrustworthy to be be given surveillance powers over anybody (CCTV, ID cards, stop and search, for example). Maybe press opponents of Leveson have had an epiphany, but it seems (possibly unfairly) that they want the power to snoop on us and invade our privacy without anyone doing the same to them. Why else refuse to be held to account to ethical rules you yourself set? If it is just unacceptable for the state or a quango to hold you to account, who should do so? Suggest as alternative to the PCC that is acceptable and meaningful.

11. Man on Clapham Omnibus

10 Arif

‘The only elements of the press that can genuinely be worried about any state enforcement role would be those which take the view in all areas that the state is too untrustworthy to be be given surveillance powers over anybody (CCTV, ID cards, stop and search, for example)’

I think this relates to a point that Sally made. The presses attempts to marginalise Wikileaks show the comfortable relationship between press and state. The press barons are not interested in informing the public since the status quo gives rise to and supports their own economic position.Similarly the controllers of the state eminate from(or are inculcated into)the same economic class. The upshot is that the press are really unlikely to stray on the kind of territory you are talking about.

Ed Milliband and Leveson make good points, but persuading the newspaper editors and proprietors will not be easy. Papers will have their backs up from the outset – not because of the stereotypical picture being painted about them (because of a few bad eggs), but because they battle against some of the toughest libel laws going before their stories get past the starting block.

Please vote in the poll here and have your say on this:http://newshacked.blogspot.co.uk/

Conrad

Try this news report from July last year:

“The retired schoolmaster [Chris Jefferies] was not at London’s High Court for the settlement of his actions against the publishers of the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Scotsman.

“His solicitor, Louis Charalambous, told Mr Justice Tugendhat that ‘in recognition of the immense distress and damage’ caused, they had all agreed to apologise for the ‘seriously defamatory’ allegations made in the wake of the landscape architect’s December 2010 death and pay substantial damages.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8670114/Joanna-Yeatess-landlord-Chris-Jefferies-wins-libel-payout.html#

We can tell from that libel settlement just how concerned the editors of some papers are about the truth of what their papers report. There are more than just “a few” bad eggs while some papers are noticeably absent in this and similar libel settlements as well as not being implicated in the phone hacking scandal.

The recommendations are for an independent commission.
It is not surprising that most right wingers support the so called free press. A press controlled by right wing vested vested interests is not free. Leftist journalists are as rare as rocking horse poo. The Guardian are full of “I am left but” individuals.
If people like Nick Cohen and Martin Bright are given as examples of the leftist press, then we are living in a state without a plethora of views. A free press dictates all views should be aired however uncomfortable.
Also people criticize the libel laws but without them McApline would have not been able to rightly defend his reputation.


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