Press industry on Leveson: 'inaccurate, distorted and unreliable'

By staff writers
March 18, 2013

The pressure group Hacked Off, which wants to see the full implementation of key elements of the Leveson inquiry into the operation and ethics of the press in Britain, has denounced last last week's press industry statement on the matter as "deeply misleading".

Introducing its detailed rebuttal, the groups says: "Like their newspapers, 'representatives of the press industry' apparently negotiating with Conservative ministers over Leveson cannot shed their old habits of inaccuracy, distortion and unreliability. The statement is misleading and disingenuous, concealing the true position – that the press want to water down Leveson – behind the rhetoric of press freedom."

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Royal Charter will not protect the public from future press abuses, Hacked Off says. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have seeking some formal undepinning of the Charter, plus a deal to ensure that parliament cannot interfere: though whether what they have come up with is sufficient is still in dispute.

Late last week and over the weekend, the Telegraph, Times, Sun and other papers went into hyperbolic overdrive to denounce anything beyond self-regulation as "the end of press freedom".

Critics say that they are simply trying to preserve huge concentrations of corporate power, and that a genuinely independent co-regulatory body with statutory underpinning, framed within a First Amendment-style law to protect the freedom of the press, as Leveson proposed, is a threat to abuse - but not to free reporting and comment. As with the system that has been achieved successfully in Ireland, this in no way amounts to 'state control', though journalists are keen to be able to protect sources in order to safeguard investigative work.

* Full Hacked Off response to the press industry statement:

Has the latest deal moved beyond 'political opportunism' on Leveson?

* More on Leveson from Ekklesia:

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