Sunday, December 02, 2012

Frenzy

We find ourselves in a media frenzy over the publication and response to the Leveson report. The report recommended a number of things including a legal backstop. In practice many of the items raised in the report already are covered by our laws - it was just a matter of the Police enforcing them.

Now we find the "bleeding heart celebrities" encouraging people to sign a petition to get the report accepted in full. Fortunately our Prime Minister is not that naive. The Press do need to act within the law, and they do need to clean up their act - but the imposition of specific legislation is a very dangerous precedent that whilst enacted in good will, could end up as a gag on stories of genuine import.
(Acknowledgements to the original author of this  image, whomsoever it may be)

The Gorse Fox notices that the celebrities that are encouraging the imposition of legislation are, in general (but not all), those who have been caught-out in the past. He also notices that Alastair Campbell is in favour of it - well given the "sexing up" of the dossier for the illegal Iraq war - you would expect nothing else. Remember that these recommendations also mean the end of "off the record" briefings, and the documentation of whistle-blowers. This would have stopped the revelations of the MP's expense fiddles, the fact that the Iraq War was deemed illegal by our own Government advisors, the fact that Alastair Campbell had "sexed up" the WMD dossier... and countless other scandals.

Now, there are some genuine victims of the Press and they have been harmed by the newspapers and should have some redress. This is already available using the existing laws of the land. Unfortunately, the police were slow to act and the legal profession charge such eye-watering fees that these remedies are rarely employed except by the very wealthy.

Worryingly, the Gorse Fox notices that Shami Chakrabati (the Human Rights advocate) is also against this and that means that the Gorse Fox finds himself in agreement with her. This is troubling precedent.

Shami Chakrabarti blasts Labour leader Ed Miliband’s ‘hasty and ill-considered’ endorsement of the report
Director of Liberty also rebuked pro-legislation pressure groups such as Hacked Off for 'ill-informed debate'

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