29/11/2012. Lord Justice Leveson began his address to the assembled media today with the words used at the beginning of the report’s Executive Summary, “For the seventh time in less than 70 years, a report has been commissioned by the Government which has dealt with concerns about the press.”
Free press the safeguard of democracy
He went on to say that he recognised the position of the press as one of the true safeguards of UK democracy, yet public interest had been repeatedly damaged by outrageous behaviour on the part of certain media.
He delivered devastating criticisms of the UK mainstream press, and warned that a simple replacement for the present system, i.e. a new Press Complaints Commission or PCC2, would not be good enough. Any model with editors on the main board would be equivalent, he said, to, “the industry marking its own homework.”
He recommended a new and independent method of press regulation backed by law, and said that anything else would not answer the numerous criticisms made by hundreds of people on the present system.
He closed his address by repeating that, “For the seventh time in less than 70 years these issues have been addressed”, and continued, “no-one with any sense could contemplate an eighth.” He concluded that it was now up to the policitians to decide,”who guards the guardians.”
Official reactions mixed
Initial reaction from Prime Minister David Cameron was to reject the idea of a new regulator, saying we should hesitate before writing new regulation into the law of the land. However his coalition partner Nick Clegg iterated his support for the Leveson recommendations.
Ed Miliband for the Labour opposition said that any cross-party talks should be about how to implement Lord Leveson’s recommendations, rather than whether to implement them.
Download the official Leveson Inquiry Executive Summary from here:
http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc07/0779/0779.asp (US server)
Or from here:
Leveson Inquiry Executive Summary (NL server).
© Philip Hunt, 2012