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Press regulation deal and blogs: where things stand


12:24 pm - March 22nd 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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There’s broad consensus that the wording of the Royal Charter on press regulation defines too many websites / blog as within its remit, and looks more illiberal than it does helpful.

My initial reaction was that we would have time to deal with this and tighten up the wording. I was wrong on the timing bit.

On Tuesday evening we found out that the deadline for amendments to the Charter Crimes and Courts bill (which is being used as the vehicle) was Friday 3pm (yes, today!), as all the three parties were anxious to pass the legislation before Parliamentary recess.

We immediately started lobbying the Labour shadow cabinet. This is what we said.

As the rules stand, Liberal Conspiracy would not sign up to the regulator (Labour List and Political Scrapbook have written more too). Whatever its merits, the legislation would be too illiberal regarding regulation of the internet specifically (I personally don’t have problems with the rest), for us to support it.

1) We wanted the rules to be tightened so they don’t catch as many websites (the Charter language already excludes platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, messageboards).

Update: To clarify, Hacked Off say they want to include all for-profit companies. We asked for an even tighter definition to exclude companies even with a turnover below a certain amount.

2) We also wanted the wording to be changed so that publishers not within the new definition would still get some benefits while being spared the penalties. That approach would make it palatable for many smaller entities (including group-blogs) to sign up.

I was informed an hour ago that while Labour and the Lib Dems have broadly accepted our recommendations, the Conservatives still need to be persuaded.

We’re waiting to hear more, but this is where we stand right now.


PS – I’d hoped to include a lot more people in the lobbying process but it was so hastily cobbled together and organised at the last minute, that this proved impossible.

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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


Why is it illiberal for a blog like yours to be included but not a newspaper website with the.same readership and the same level of involvement in phone hacking?

Why are you so desperate not be included?

I would have thought that you would want to be included so that your readers would have confidence in the articles you publish.

Is this a tacit admission that your blog is full of lies?

3. So Much for Subtlety

Whatever its merits, the legislation would be too illiberal regarding regulation of the internet specifically (I personally don’t have problems with the rest), for us to support it.

Would you mind explain the logic of wanting your mainstream competitors in the deadwood media to suffer this, but not blogs like your own? It does not look like a principle, at least none I can see, so it is what?

Should the Daily Mail’s on line website be covered do you think?

4. Laughing At You

Just as with tax havens, state schools, hobnobbing with the wealthy and swigging bottles of Bolly, you can always rely on lefties like Hundal to try and wriggle out of the rules an moral posturing they want to impose in everyone else. Usually however they are a bit less brazen/inept about revealing their hypocrisy.

A bit worrying – I can’t help but feel that rushed legislation is a bad idea, especially if they are then trying to entrench it (though I don’t believe for one second that it is constitutional for any parliament to bind its successor, or to require a two-thirds majority from its successor).

“Whatever its merits, the legislation would be too illiberal regarding regulation of the internet specifically (I personally don’t have problems with the rest), for us to support it.”

What a bizarre situation you propose. We currently have all the main newspaper and many of the local ones having almost identical content on their internet sites as they have in their paper versions. Or do you mean those that are only internet based – like yours, and what if someone printed the content and distributed it?

Never has the phrase “be careful what you wish for” been more apt than for those who thought regulation would only apply to the bad naughty knicker-sniffing papers and not to nice, left-leaning bloggers.

Suck it up – you wanted this.

Hoist own petard.


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