Friday, January 06, 2017

Yes to Leveson 2, no to Section 40

Back in 2012 I wrote:
Lord Leveson has not produced his recommendations yet, and when he does many of us of a Liberal persuasion may not like them. But we can already say that his inquiry has been a great success. 
That is because it has laid bare the working of politicians and the media. We have heard editors, owners and politicians describing that they do under forensic questioning and on oath. 
It seems it was the US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who first said "sunlight is the best disinfectant". He was right, but the Leveson Inquiry has done more than expose wrongdoing. It has been an education to those who have taken an interest in it, laying bare the culture of journalism and its relationship with the political world.
I stand by that today, which is why I support a 'Leveson 2' to make a public examination of the relationship between journalists and the police.

The arguments I have heard against it have all been special pleading by the press, who do not want their practices laid bare in public.

But the arguments I have heard against implementation of section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 seem to me compelling. It is indeed a recommendation that those of us of a Liberal persuasion should not like.

This section would mean that any publication that declined to sign up with Impress, the new regulator funded by Max Mosley, would be liable to pay the costs for both sides in any libel actions against them, even if they won.

You only have to type that out to see what a nonsense it is.

We do not need more regulation of the press, but stricter application of the criminal law when they break it.

Which is why I say Yes to Leveson 2 and no to Section 40.

1 comment:

wolfi said...

Thank you for that Brandeis quote, Jonathan!
Hadn't read that name before and found his life really interesting, a giant of a Liberal!