Posts Tagged ‘the Spectator’

The rule of law is more important than unbridled press freedom

28/11/2012, 06:46:03 PM

by Mark Stockwell

Like cornered cobras, journalists and editors have been baring their fangs in recent weeks to put pressure on the government to reject the statutory regulation of the press most now expect the Leveson report to recommend.

This is only to be expected – their way of life is being called into question.  Even those newspapers usually so quick to dismiss ‘producer interest’ are suddenly spouting every self-serving rationalisation as to why their industry should be uniquely free from interference.

Let me be clear – I hold no brief for statutory regulation of the press. Instinctively, I favour self-regulation. And I accept that the press is different from other industries, that having an open discourse of ideas and opinions is part of the lifeblood of parliamentary democracy. I get it, I really do.

But it is wholly unacceptable for an editor to state, as Fraser Nelson of the Spectator did on Wednesday, that he will not abide by the law.

Before he has even seen what Leveson proposes; before the government has come forward with its response; before the democratically-elected parliament has had a chance to consider and debate the proposals, Nelson has taken it upon himself to declare his publication and, by extension, his profession, above the law.


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