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Where Now Leveson?

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Was all the time and expense of Leveson really worth it?  We have a report of over 2000 pages to tell us the current system of self-regulation isn’t working and there has been persistent behaviour by many within the media which has shown appalling insensitivity and lack of respect for members of the public and celebrities and their basic human rights.  I don’t know about you, but I think I could have come to that conclusion myself at a tiny proportion of the cost and within a fraction of the timescale. 

The interesting part of all this (well interesting for us lawyers at least) is what direction the future of press regulation will take.  There have been a number of responses to Leveson’s recommendations that such regulation should be by the media itself, but within a statutory framework, from the “this is State control of the media and the end of a free press” to “self-regulation was precisely the problem before Leveson and therefore it is bound to fail again”. 

Where you personally stand on the argument probably depends on a number of things; what your chosen poison is in terms of print media, which end of the political spectrum you come from and the extent to which you are a conspiracy theorist (and so whether you believe that somehow Leveson is a plan to shackle the great investigative journalism for which certain sections of our media were once well known).

For my part, no one in their right mind could possibly think that the status quo should be maintained.  A solution which leaves the practical regulation to the industry itself albeit with the structure for that regulation first approved by a statutory authority, seems a pretty good result to me if I was a media mogul.  Either way and regrettably I cannot help feeling that we will probably be having the same debate in 5 or 10 years time. 

Posted: 17/12/2012 09:11:34
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