Friday, 11 October 2013

Leveson and a Free Press

I see that a lot of press people are unhappy with the regulation proposals following on from the Leveson Enquiry so let me throw in my tuppence worth.

We all support a free press, but the fact of the matter is that the United Kingdom hasn't had a free press for many years. It has always been totally under the control of a few powerful families who exercise that control in a completely scurrilous way. They have absolutely no problem in publishing half truths and complete falsehoods to the ruination of peoples' lives and for the sake of, and in the name of, something that will be wrapping a fish supper tomorrow. Provided always that it makes them money.

They are completely undemocratic, setting the agenda that their masters want and even claiming to decide who governs the country, if we are to believe the 'Sun wot won it' headlines. And who wouldn't believe the Sun.

All that is asked of them is that they stay within the law and tell the truth. Is that so very difficult for them. Those are the same rules that the rest of a free society seems to have few problems with. But they want to be completely outwith the law, they want to ride roughshod over everyone else's rights not to be defamed because they know that few if any ordinary people can afford to go to law against them.

So however distasteful, it has become necessary to rein their excesses, and it is only their excesses that are being restricted, because if we don't exercise some sort of democratic control over law-breakers and corrupters in the press and everywhere else then we risk losing democracy itself. But perhaps that is the ultimate objective of the press barons. They want to exercise that ultimate power that ordinary people having a right to vote denies them.

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