Posts Tagged ‘Leveson Inquiry’

Is the Leveson Inquiry about to re-open?

24/10/2012, 07:00:25 AM

by Atul Hatwal

On Monday night a big news story broke. Yet it received scant coverage in the print media.

The first claims were filed at the High Court against  Mirror Group for hacking. While this story was running number two on the BBC website through Monday night into Tuesday morning, it was accorded considerably less prominence on the websites of the newspapers and received extremely modest coverage in their later print editions.

Quelle surprise.

The last thing most of the print media want are the gruesome details of new hacking revelations thrust before the public, just as the newspapers prepare to decry the Leveson report as the greatest assault on freedom since the doodlebug.

But this is important.

This is the first time a news organisation other than News International has been in the legal firing line. The “one rogue organisation” defence has never looked so shaky.

This post-Leveson update of the “one rogue reporter” line will be mounted by the non-News International newspapers in the days and weeks following the publication of the judge’s recommendations.

After the initial shock and awe of wall to wall headlines proclaiming the death of liberty, the majority of the non-Murdoch press will fall back to their second, and ultimately more robust, line of defence.

They will say that the evidence presented before the Inquiry proves only one thing: that News International was rotten. Not the press as a whole, just Murdoch.

Yes there might be lessons to be learned for all of the print media, but on the basis of the facts as presented, the case for statutory action only applies to New International. One rogue organisation. To sacrifice the freedom of the press for the actions of Rupert Murdoch would be disproportionate, illogical and excessive.


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Leveson heads for press regulation proposals that will mean war with the papers

13/07/2012, 07:00:49 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Did you know Leveson was sitting yesterday? Thought not. But away from the high political drama of Jeremy Hunt or low criminality of hacking, this was one of the most interesting sessions.

Inquiries are defined by the character of their principals. The decidedly establishment mores of Lord Hutton became clearer throughout the progress of his investigation into death of David Kelly just as the more challenging approach of Lord Macpherson was increasingly evident in his conduct of the inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

In this latest phase of the Leveson inquiry, which has moved on to deal with the future of press regulation, Brian Leveson’s character is emerging. And most pertinently, his thoughts on what he will propose seem to have crystallised.

The key witness yesterday was Sir Charles Anthony St.John Gray.

Gray is notable for three reasons: his background, suggested approach to regulation and Leveson’s interventions.

First, as Leveson acknowledged, Sir Charles Gray is one of his long standing friends. Both served at the bar and as judges in the House of Lords, until, in the words of Leveson, Gray, “decided that he’d had enough”. The professional experiences and social environment that shaped Gray’s outlook have equally moulded Leveson.

Second, Gray runs an organisation called Early Resolution (ER). It is a body that adjudicates on press disputes without having to go through the time and cost of a full court case.  ER is voluntary but Gray was up before Leveson proposing a mandatory incarnation of his organisation as the new press regulator.


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Does anyone outside the Westminster village give a damn about Leveson?

14/06/2012, 07:00:44 AM

by Peter Watt

People are suffering out there.  Families’ finances are under pressure as prices rise while their incomes remain static.  The numbers who are unemployed keeps rising and the fear of losing your job is very real for many more.

It manifests itself in small ways for many families, perhaps the occasional meal out has stopped.  Or the much loved and deserved annual holiday has been downgraded or cancelled.  The car costs more to fill up and that credit card bill suddenly seems a real worry as money runs out sooner in the month than it did.  The news is full of rumblings of worse to come as the dark clouds of possible Euro meltdown gather.  It all adds to up to a great deal of worry that is being quietly borne in millions of homes across the country.

People don’t expect to be told “it will all be alright” by their politicians.  And even if politicians did say that they wouldn’t be believed anyway.  But they have every right to expect that politicians are working tirelessly for them and on their behalf.

So imagine how you must have felt this week as you realised that there was still a couple of weeks to go until pay-day and the kids needed new shoes or the tax on the car was due.  And then you flicked on the news and saw that once again the entire political class appeared to have its collective head stuck up its own arse once again!


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