I am pleasantly surprised at how moderate, intricate and nuanced Sir Brian Leveson has made his recommendations on the press.
We appear to be faced with:
NOW: Self-regulation with a code written by the press and administered by a body set up by the press with serving editors on some of the boards and which doesn’t work.
PROPOSED: Self-regulation with a code written by the press and administered by a body set up by the press without serving editors which does work much better, because there is legal framework to “validate” the body, and Ofcom or some similar appropriate body oversees it.
I am a little baffled as to how replacing a code accepted over many years, but which hasn’t worked, with a (presumably) similar code that does work amounts to the “end of press freedom”. Are they saying the code of the PCC was terrible, which is why they ignored it?
“Slippery slope” arguments are the last bastion of people who have lost their argument. They said banning killing by hounds during hunting would lead to a ban on fishing. It didn’t.
As for the nightmarish prospect of a North Korean dictator-like figure taking over the UK government and using the “Leveson law” to implement total press control…. Well, they could do that anyway by creating a completely new law. Indeed, if the press’s recommendation of a lawless regulation body went ahead, such a nightmare government could say that the lawless self-regulation scenario has not worked and use that as an excuse for a tough law.
Anyway, look at Finland. They are joint number one in the Worldwide Press Freedom index and yet they have the 2004 “Act on the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in the Mass Media“. “The objective of the Act is described as being to make “more detailed provisions on the exercise, in the media, of the freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution”.”
Such an act, hasn’t caused the world to end in Finland. They still have the freeest press in the world.
It won’t cause the world to end here.
For goodness sake, let’s get on with it.