Leveson Report: What next for PM?

 

It should not be acceptable that it (the press) uses its voice, power and authority to undermine the ability of society to require that regulation is not a free for all, to be ignored with impunity. The answer to the question who guards the guardians should not be "no one".

Those words buried deep in the Leveson Report seem to summarise the judge's view.

He attacks the press for behaviour which can "only be described as outrageous" and for "recklessness in prioritising sensational stories almost irrespective of the harm the stories may cause".

He condemns political parties for "too close a relationship with the press in a way which has not been in the public interest" and a "persistent failure" to respond to public concern about the press"

He criticises the police for failing to re-open enquiries into phone hacking and being "wrong and unduly defensive".

However, and you can be sure David Cameron will make a great deal of this :

* he clears the Prime Minister of "anything resembling a deal" with News International

* he praises the former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt for his handling of the BSkyB "in every respect bar one" ie asking his special adviser to deal with News International

So far, so much commentary. What of his recommendations?

Leveson tries to bridge the gap between those who argue for self regulation by the press and those who call for a new law. He says that a new press regulatory body would only be independent if it was underpinned by a law - or statute and supervised by OFCOM - the current communications regulator.

I suspect that that will not persuade the Prime Minister. David Cameron is likely to praise Leveson's work and principles but argue that a new independent regulator could and should be set up without a new law.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Labour leader Ed Miliband are likely to argue that Leveson's proposals should, at least, be the starting point.

The question then is - can a parliamentary majority be formed to defeat the prime minister or will he manage to persuade the press to change its proposals to head off that threat?

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    I stopped buying the Sun in the 80s because of the close connection to the Tory party and I didnt like a newspaper telling me which way to vote. Today after the Leveson report and again DC is sitting in bed with the Press with one eye on the next election he needs them on board to act as his spin machine. After what happened over the phone hacking I do not now buy the papers do I miss them NO.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 71.

    WE DO NOT NEED MORE REGS.THERE IS LAW IN PLACE ALREADY ,THE PROBLEM IS THE NONE ACTIVICATION OF THE LAW .THE ONLY TRUE TEST FOR THE NEWS MEDIA IS WHEN JO PUBLIC STOPS BUYING THEM AND THE TRUTH IS JO PUBLIC LAPS UP TAT AND BECAUSE OF THIS A FEW EDITORS WENT A STEP TOO FAR,SO STOP BUYING GET THE CRIMINAL LAW TO WORK AND SEND THE FEW TO GAOL ,THAT WOUL STOP IT IN ITS TRACT.NO NEW LAW NEEDED

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    David Cameron's response to Lord Leveson's report once again shows how weak and ineffective our leadership is. This Prime Minister and his hapless, ineffective Government is likely to be rated the worst in our political history.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    Can't understand why the British people would want the decision regarding press behaviour to rest with a man who signs his text messages to one of the worst offenders - LOL ??????????

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 68.

    66#

    Yeahhh, rrrrrrrrrright, course you were..........Not. I know exactly at which end of the wedge you are standing, old chum. The very thin one that has your PW at one end and the likes of Izvestia/Prada at the other and something similar to the French privacy law somewhere along the way.

    You'll only get rid of tat if the plebs stop buying the cr*p. An unfortunate byproduct of dumbing them down

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 67.

    61 "see paras 126-8 of [the] Executive Summary"

    Yes indeed, "idbi", that one, single, solitary crumb of comfort for those misguided members of the Watson Tendency: "...and a lack of supervision by Mr Hunt".

    Don't eat it all at once!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 66.

    63

    You're putting a political slant on something - the elimination of tat - which is apolitical. Tat can originate from anywhere across the spectrum (I only cite the Sun since they're a particularly prolific producer) and if untramelled it diminishes us all.

    Leveson was a real chance to get a grip on this (via a new and independent QC function) and I think we've missed a trick, that's all.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 65.

    What's being missed is this:

    Over the last 70 years national affairs have become much more complex, rapidly-moving, and interrelated with those of other nations.

    For a democracy to function, an irresponsible, sensationalist distracting, misleading press is something very undesirable indeed.

    Ours is not working well, and it's very damaging to our interests and standing.

    Enough.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 64.

    Has this BBC comments column ratings been Hijacked by the Press? Looks like it. Maybe we shud only be able to cligk ratings after a comment has been moderated!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 63.

    60/62##

    Yep, that'd be right up your street wouldnt it, Saga? The press only get to report on what we the statutory body say they can. And heaven help them if they "fail to protect the public" from such "unutterable tat" as the MP's expenses, Dr David Kelly and whatever else may embarrass the reprasentatives of the people who would now be free to act with even more impunity than they already do?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 62.

    And don't tell me that statutory quality control isn't practical or can't be done in practice. It is, and it can.

    We need a new body - 'PressWatch' - and the only prerequisites are it must be (i) all-powerful and (ii) comprised of people with a sharp mind and a rarified sensibility.

    PW's brief will be to protect the public from unutterable tat. They'll focus closely on the Sun, I'd imagine.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 61.

    State of play so far.
    Leveson declared 'bonkers' by Dave.
    No open and explicit deals. But then they aren't the worrying kind.
    Hunt exonerated by Dave but not by Leveson - see paras 126-8 of Executive Summary.
    Ed, cleverly, resists opportunities for Punch and Judy bickering with sober let's get talking and act on Leveson line.
    Irony warning. Much support expected for Dave in tomorrow's newspapers.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 60.

    Anyway I'd like to thank Lord Justice Leveson for his hard work and for a comprehensive (and quite readable) report. I agree with his recommendation as I'm sure do all bar vested interests such as News International and the tory party

    The big 'miss' is a proposal for statutory quality control of the papers. Without this it's hard to see how the key objective (extinguishing the Sun) will be met.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 59.

    To 'protect press freedom', statute might define freedom, of speech & of press: not to be countenanced

    From respectful questioning of canny indirect parties, 'evidence' did not 'begin to support' such responsibility as required by a criminal lawyer

    But the public knows 'the evidence': the reality of Fear & Greed, of bullying & corruption, of being manipulated & abused, from personal experience

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 58.

    I hope there will soon be a fundamental FOCUS on WHY MPs Do Not have any Legal or Statutory Obligation to Represent Constituents.

    Surely, given that MPs are funded by the public purse, and the press isn't, there should be a Leveson Inquiry part II that addresses the effect by this 'non-existent measurement in the quality of MPs representations of tax payers.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 57.

    "Those words buried deep in the Leveson Report seem to summarise the judge's view" Nick R.

    Are you sure?


    Why would anyone bury deep within a report a summary of their view?

    I'd have put it at start, in a paragraph headed "Summary".

    And what's Leveson saying in your quote? If the regulators are the "guardians", is he really saying we need regulators to regulate the regulators?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 56.

    I cried at least twice when DC spoke in the house today, Then I thought here we go again, he does not want to regulate, think of the bad press he would get if he did.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 55.

    Admirably, LJ Leveson sought to bring all of us through No Man's Land, question-marks expunged: sadly only to see party point-scoring resumed, the challenge of 'twenty pages of law' to be evaded

    Expect Cameron to 'keep statute at bay', earning 'credit' against the 'Stalinist' opposition of all others, grateful newspapers to give 'the benefit of any doubt' on 'signs of economic recovery' come 2015

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 54.

    Free press.

    Free Palestine.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 53.

    Disappointing from DC. He must be careful he doesn't emerge from this looking more Murdoch lackey than leader of the nation.

    This government right-wing? Depends where you're viewing from. If you're sensibly to the left of them it is; if you're away with the fairies on the rightwards fringe it isn't. 'Steve', for example, doesn't think this government is right-wing and one can't expect him to.

 

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