Sunday, 2 December 2012

Leveson . Lets make sure we get an Independent PCC.

Strangely I find myself sharing some of the disquiet that there might be some form of State Regulation of the Press.

The danger of Governments interfering in a Free Press was  somewhat highlighted  when our own Assembly, demanded S4C cancel a repeat of an episode of Welsh soap opera Pobol y Cwm because of its portrayal of the government policy on badgers.

And we must ask ourselves would the Telegraph have managed to expose the MPs expenses scandal be blocked by the state having to much say?

Indeed the Jimmy Saville disclosures show that we need a Press that can Investigate when there is clearly something going wrong.

But of course this must be done legally and one thing is clear  papers like the News of  The World  broke the law with their Phone hacking etc.

Nor was it in any case of someone who was breaking the law themselves,but in pursuit of celebrity gossip or as in the case of Milie Dowlings family a search for a scoop that actual interfered in the real police investigation..

The problem of State regulation is that it might have the opposite effect making the like s of Rupert Murdoch more determined to cosy up to politicians in exchange for mutual support..

Left Foot Forward , a Labour blog  points out Leveson's cricticism of AlexSalmond,  in that ...
had Salmond undertaken what he had pledged to do in lobbying UK ministers on behalf of News Corp to secure jobs in Scotland, he would have been interfering in a quasi-judicial decision and thereby would have “rendered the decision unlawful
However LFF, fails to highlight a glaring omission of the Leveson enquiry namely how both Labour and Tory politicians courted Murdoch over the years in order to get his paper support (as Salmond allegedly did).

However Murdoch never put up Alex in the Haymand Island in  resort in Australia  as he did Tony Blair in 1995. or hosting David Cameron on his yacht in Sanatorini and putting his son-in-laws private plane at his disposal in (2008) . Coincidentally, two years before each became Prime-minister.

What we need is a completely independent body that can oversee the Press rand which can respond to complaints swiftly and effectively  by members of the public even to the extent of ordering the miscreants to provide some form of compensation (even if this is not legally binding).

It is after all not celebrities or politicians who have the means to seek legal redress but he ordinary members of the public who often have no way of seeking that the press correct a wrongful article on them  who are the real victims.

The current law (though it may need strengening) can deal with the likes of phone hacking and Britain has libel laws which some would argue are used by the rich and powerful to stifle the truth.

But it is the ordinary people that we need to protect here and they need a body that they can turn to which is truly independent and free from the influence of both policians and newspare mogals and their editors.

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