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Reaction to Neil Kinnock's call for a balanced press

Clare Spencer | 13:56 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

While talking on Radio 4's Today about the phone-hacking scandal former Labour leader Lord Kinnock argued the UK needs a balanced press:

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The recommendation to emulate broadcast news came at the end of the interview:

"We have had, since the 1950s, independent television, commercially independent and commercially run subject to a charter which it has honoured with great fidelity, and I see no reason at all why those general rules, which have certainly not impeded freedom of expression or activity in any way at all, shouldn't have wider applications."

Twitter erupted with criticism to the claim.

Conservative Home's Tim Montgomerie suggests in Lord Kinnock's world News of the World wouldn't be the only paper to close:

In Kinnock's ideal world there'd be no Mail, Sun or Telegraph, just a government-regulated National Information News...'Tue Jul 19 11:45:57 via TypePad Favorite Retweet Reply

The Wall Street Journal's Iain Martin guesses Lord Kinnock's comments are causing problems for Ed Miliband:

GB last week, now Kinnock intervention (calling for a censored press) backfires. Mili E must be wishing former Lab leaders would shut up.'Tue Jul 19 09:22:43 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Labour MP Tom Harris confirmed Iain Martin's suspicion:

I understand why some Labour people will want to agree with Kinnock's press regulation comments. But don't, okay? Just don't.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

In blogs a little more detail is given to the particulars of the outrage against Lord Kinnock's idea. Daniel Hannan explains in his Daily Telegraph blog that the goal, even within broadcasting isn't obtainable:

"No statute can guarantee neutrality, for the simple reason that no two people will agree on what constitutes neutrality"

The Economist's Bagehot blog gets down to the specifics of how Lord Kinnocks ideas would (not) work for their publication:

"So no political bias to the point of "prejudice". That is a loaded term. What about "set of core principles"? Under the Kinnock rules, would The Economist be required to give equal billing to advocates of trade protectionism, to supporters of the death penalty, or to nativists calling for an end to all immigration?
"Time for Ed Miliband to distance himself from his former leader, and sharpish."

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