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PM "Open-Minded On Leveson's Press Report

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PM "Open-Minded On Leveson's Press Report

Post  Panda on Sun 25 Nov - 9:37

PM 'Open-Minded' On Leveson's Press Report

Number 10 rejects reports that David Cameron will resist calls for tougher media regulation if Lord Justice Leveson recommends it.

6:19am UK, Sunday 25 November 2012

Video: Cameron 'Open-Minded' Over Leveson

  • David Cameron is said to be keeping an "open mind" about the future regulation of the press and will make no decisions before he has seen Lord Justice Leveson's much-anticipated report.

    Downing Street has rejected any suggestion that the Prime Minister has already decided to rule out full-blown state regulation following reports he is heading for a showdown with Lord Justice Leveson when he delivers his report into the findings about the British press.

    The Mail On Sunday claimed Mr Cameron would back a new, tougher model of self-regulation to replace the Press Complaints Commission - but with the threat that a statutory system could be brought in later if matters do not improve.

    The Leveson report is supposed to be shrouded in secrecy until its publication on Thursday.

    Mr Cameron and some other senior Government figures will have access to it on Wednesday so that he can make a substantive response when it is released.

    "The Prime Minister is open-minded about Lord Justice Leveson's report and will read it in full before he makes any decision about what to do," a spokesman said.
    The Prime Minister himself gave evidence to the inquiry
    Victims of press intrusion are calling for an independent regulator, backed up by law, while editors fear that statutory regulation could serve only to limit press freedom.

    Mr Cameron set up the inquiry in July last year in response to revelations that the News Of The World (NOTW) commissioned a private detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

    This Thursday's report follows the first part of the Leveson Inquiry looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press, and will include recommendations for press regulation.

    Members of campaign group Hacked Off, including victims of press intrusion, want an independent regulator - possibly backed up by law to ensure newspapers comply.

    Hacked Off director Professor Brian Cathcart said they wanted "something effective that will make a difference" - probably backed by law to give it the necessary "clout" - but said if the chairman found a way of doing that without law, they would be happy as long as it was effective.
    Lord Justice Leveson's report will be published on Thursday
    But Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society Of Editors, called for "proportionality", saying he hoped Lord Justice Leveson had not only taken the "headline evidence" into account.

    "Some of the points that came out were absolutely dreadful and nobody is trying to hide away from the fact that there were some pieces of behaviour in some parts of the press that were quite appalling," he said.

    "But it's got to be seen in context - we want to see some proportionality."

    Former Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames, who was placed under NOTW surveillance along with her husband, said victims wanted to "draw a line under all this".

    "We want to be able to trust our journalists again and pick up our newspapers and be confident that what we're reading is accurate and it hasn't been obtained illegally or at the detriment of somebody's life," she said.

    "We have a fantastic historical tradition of newspapers and journalism in this country and I would love to see that restored.

    "It's a fantastic opportunity to look to the future so that in 50 years' time people will look back and see this as a pivotal moment and a restoration of faith in our free press."
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Re: PM "Open-Minded On Leveson's Press Report

Post  Panda on Sun 25 Nov - 9:53

Before the review is even published we have the usual "freedom of the Press" brigade airing their views , completely ignoring the reason the Leveson Enquiry was set up...........that many people had their phones hacked or were the victims of outrageous Press reporting on their private lives , and downright lies. This is done to increase sales .

There is no need to undermine the freedom of the Press, but the Press MUST ensure the truth of their reporting and stop the intrusion into the private lives of Celebrities or any person for that matter . The PCC has proved quite ineffective and a new Watchdog empowered to take action .......we need another Mary Whitehouse .

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Re: PM "Open-Minded On Leveson's Press Report

Post  Panda on Wed 28 Nov - 8:18

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  1. Leveson report: state regulation is 'greatest threat to newspapers in 300 years', say Conservative MPs

State regulation of newspapers would pose the greatest danger to press freedom for 300 years, senior Conservatives warn ahead of the publication of the Leveson Report.

Lord Justice Leveson Photo: PA

By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent

6:53PM GMT 27 Nov 2012


In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 86 politicians from all three major parties urge David Cameron not to bring in new press laws if Lord Justice Leveson recommends state regulation on Thursday.

The letter shows there is a major split in the Conservative Party over press regulation, as 42 Tories have already called for tough new laws to keep newspapers in check.

Sources said the Prime Minister is now considering a free vote in the House of Commons allowing MPs to follow their conscience over the issue.

Dozens of senior Conservatives have signed the letter, including Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, Lord Howell, George Osborne’s father-in-law, Stephen Dorrell, a former Health Secretary, David Davis, a former Europe minister, Lord Forsyth, a former Scottish Secretary, Lord Trimble, former leader of the Ulster Unionists and John Whittingdale, the chairman of the media select committee.

Lord Fellowes, the author and screenwriter, Baroness Boothroyd, the former Speaker of the House of Commons and Lord Coe, the Olympics chief, have also given their support to the campaign.

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One Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, has signed the letter and several Labour MPs, including Kate Hoey, the former sports minister, and Frank Field, a former welfare minister.

There is growing speculation that Lord Justice Leveson will recommend a form of state regulation in his report, which was commissioned in the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal. Mr Cameron has said he is minded to accept the judge's suggestions as long as they are not too "heavy-handed" or "bonkers", but the Cabinet is deeply divided over whether state regulation would endanger free speech.

Figures last night showed that 79% are in favour of an independent press regulator established by law, with only 9% opposed. It found 60% believed that the Prime Minister should implement Leveson’s recommendations.

Just over 80% said national newspaper should be obliged to sign up to the new system by law, according to the poll by YouGov on behalf of the Media Standards Trust, published in the Guardian.

But the letter to The Daily Telegraph, organised by Conor Burns, a Conservative MP, and David Blunkett, the former Labour Home Secretary, warns that state regulation would lead to newspaper licensing, which was brought in during the English Civil War in 1643 and scrapped 50 years later under William III.

It says: “No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing – abolished in Britain in 1695. State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution.”

The campaign is a direct rebuttal to George Eustice, the Prime Minister’s former press secretary, who orchestrated the letter from Conservative MPs calling for strong press laws.

Tonight, Chris Skidmore, one of the 42 MPs who put his name to Mr Eustice's letter, told The Daily Telegraph he has changed his mind and should not have signed up.

“The power of the media to chasten and criticise politicians has been good for democracy, and must remain unchallenged,” he said. “I remain convinced that politicians must be wary of introducing new legislation to regulate the press, especially state regulation backed by statute, because the self interest involved is obvious. Neither should there be any state licensing of newspapers.”

The letter cautions against bringing in any kind of legal basis for a newspaper watchdog as this would be a form of state regulation “dressed up”.

It says state regulation of printed newspapers could also move journalism on to websites, which would make it even more difficult to monitor.

The MPs and peers say the current system of regulation must be “profoundly” overhauled after some newspapers abused their power and behaved badly.

They argue for a “a much improved, genuinely independent regulator” that can levy fines. All newspapers would be bound to obey this watchdog under civil contracts, rather than laws.

This plan has been put forward by Lord Hunt of Wirral, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commmission, and Lord Black of Brentwood, chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance. Lord Black is also an executive director of Telegraph Media Group, which publishes The Daily Telegraph.

Tonight Mr Burns said a free press is “the cornerstone of a free society”.

“Any attempt to dictate to the press through statutory regulation who can and cannot print would be a profound erosion of the right to free speech,” he said.

Mr Davis argued that politicians should be “big enough” to deal with press criticism, adding that “if they are not, they should get another job.”

Writing in the Daily Mail, he warned: “The great danger is that once governments acquire some control over the press, they instinctively use every opportunity to acquire more.”

The MPs' letter in full

With the publication of the Leveson Report on Thursday it is clear that the central issue will be whether the press should, for the first time, be subjected to statutory regulation or have the opportunity to put in place a new system of binding self-regulation.

As Parliamentarians, we believe in free speech and are opposed to the imposition of any form of statutory control even if it is dressed up as underpinning. It is redress that is vital not broader regulation.

The prospect of drafting legislation may have the dual benefit of exposing the dangers of the statutory regulation and at the same time focus the minds of those seeking to further strengthen the existing tough independent proposals.

No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing – abolished in Britain in 1695. State licensing is inimical to any idea of press freedom and would radically alter the balance of our unwritten constitution.

There are also serious concerns that statutory regulation of the print media may shift the balance to the digital platforms which, as recent events have shown through the fiasco of Newsnight broadcast prompted by Twitter, would further undermine the position of properly moderated and edited print journalism.

The press abuse chronicled at Leveson was almost wholly about actions which were against the law. It demonstrated not a sole failure of regulation but rather of law enforcement.

However the status quo is not an option. We cannot countenance newspapers behaving as some have in the past. The solution is not new laws but a profound restructuring of the self-regulatory system.

Lords Hunt and Black have come forward with a detailed proposal for a much improved, genuinely independent regulator with the power to intervene proactively, to levy substantial fines, and to enforce membership for the first time through a system of civil contracts. They need to deliver on this promised reform.

We agree with the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee which came out against any form of statutory regulation - not least because of the signal it would send to emerging democracies around the world.

Public debate will necessarily follow publication of the Leveson report and will be needed to provide confidence in a rigorous tough new system of self-regulation. Such a debate will lead to a speedy way of establishing a new self-regulatory regime that can restore confidence in the press.

David Blunkett
Conor Burns
Stuart Andrew
Steve Baker
Lord Bell
Bob Blackman
Nick de Bois
Baroness Boothroyd
Peter Bottomley
Peter Bone
Graham Brady
Angie Bray
Julian Brazier
Andrew Bridgen
Alun Cairns
Baroness Chalker
Bill Cash
Douglas Carswell
Lord Cavendish
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Therese Coffey
Damian Collins
Earl Courtown
Tracey Crouch
David Davis
Glyn Davies
Philip Davies
Lord Dobbs
Brian Donohoe
Stephen Dorrell
Lord Eden
Lord Fellowes
Liam Fox
Frank Field
Lord Flight
Lord Forsyth
Mike Freer
Lord Glentoran
James Gray
Robert Halfon
John Hemming
Gordon Henderson
Kate Hoey
George Hollingbery
Lord Howell of Guildford
Margot James
Eleanor Laing
Phillip Lee
Peter Lilley
Pauline Latham
Julian Lewis
Karen Lumley
Jason McCartney
Karl McCartney
Stephen McPartland
Baroness Morris
David Morris
Stephen Mosley
Baroness Neville-Jones
Brooks Newmark
Lord Norton
Mark Pawsey
Christopher Pincher
Mark Reckless
John Redwood
Lord Renton
Lord Risby
Baroness Shephard
Lord Skelmersdale
Graham Stringer
Julian Smith
Gisela Stuart
Graham Stuart
Lord Swinfen
Justin Tomlinson
Lord Trimble
The Lord True
Andrew Turner
Martin Vickers
Lord Wakeham
Heather Wheeler
John Whittingdale
Sarah Wollasto
Tim Yeo
Lord Coe
Lord Tebbit


What was the point of all the time and expense spent on this enquiry if MP's will not accept the findings and Leveson's
recommendation. I truly despair of Parliament., what's the betting Cameron will go for a Free Vote, once again being reactive, not proactive. .

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