Comments on: Index: Leveson goes too far http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/ the voice of free expression Sat, 17 Jan 2015 10:21:37 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=324 By: Liberal Hero of the Week #32: Index on Censorship & Jonathan Dimbleby. (The Villains are Cameron, Clegg and Miliband) | CentreForum Blog http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/#comment-22884 Fri, 22 Mar 2013 20:41:11 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=42705#comment-22884 […] the leading campaign group sticking up for freedom of expression, highlighting the profound flaws in the Leveson Report and now in the latest Royal Charter proposals backed by the three […]

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By: Index on Censorship response to Conservatives' Royal Charter press proposal | Index on Censorship http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/#comment-22324 Fri, 08 Mar 2013 13:06:44 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=42705#comment-22324 […] proposals come in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry and report on the culture, practices and ethics of the UK […]

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By: Is Press Freedom Fading Away Around the World? | Anything Voluntary http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/#comment-21297 Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:16:30 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=42705#comment-21297 […] As the U.K.-based Index on Censorship warns: […]

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By: Is Press Freedom Fading Away Around the World? - Unofficial Network http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/#comment-21294 Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:08:45 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=42705#comment-21294 […] the U.K.-based Index on Censorship warns: The media has a vital role to play — as Leveson himself indicated — in monitoring and […]

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By: Is Press Freedom Fading Away Around the World? - Unofficial Network http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/#comment-21295 Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:08:45 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=42705#comment-21295 […] the U.K.-based Index on Censorship warns: The media has a vital role to play — as Leveson himself indicated — in monitoring and […]

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By: Steffan John http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2012/11/index-leveson-inquiry-press-freedom/#comment-18255 Fri, 30 Nov 2012 13:26:18 +0000 http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=42705#comment-18255 This is not going to be a popular view here, but as much as all my gut instincts is to be opposed to Leveson, this article and those like it are pretty shallow. The argument that this is tantamount to politicising the press is as far-fetched as arguing that any curbs on trade union behaviour is tantamount to fascist totalitarianism, or that any regulation of business is a path to communism. In many ways, a regulator is the only way that ‘freedom of the press’ can be preserved.

Those who cite ‘freedom of the press’ invariably argue that the press shouldn’t be treated any differently from anyone else, and that the law is sufficient to punish any illegality. Even if we (far too casually) ignore the blatant fact that the law has not been sufficient, as a matter of principle, journos should be very, very careful about arguing that they should be no different in law than I am.

The practical reality is that an awful lot of investigative journalism depends on a degree of illegality – such as publishing leaked documents (like the expenses scandal), pumping police officers for confidential info, and protecting sources even in the context of legal cases. The logical position of the anti-regulation is that, as the press are no different, they should be prosecuted in a court of law, and only there can the defence of public interest be made.

If you’re in favour of ‘freedom of the press’ (as I am), then you are implicitly arguing that the press should be treated differently to me.

I agree that it should be, for reasons of the public interest. However, any body – or any industry – that is given special dispensation to break the law has to be accountable in some form, otherwise it becomes – literally and metaphorically – a law unto itself. If it rejects this accountability (especially if it does so on the grounds that it’s no different to individuals), then it rejects this special dispensation, and that each and every act of illegality justified in the name of the ‘public interest’ must be tested – not by an independent professional regulator, but in a court of law.

That would have a far more chilling effect on the freedom of the press – but it is ultimate logic of those who argue that the press is no different from anyone else, and must be regulated by the judiciary just like anyone else.

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