Hold the Front Page!



And the verdict form the print press is in on the Leveson proposal from MPs and…they don’t like it. Imagine my surprise. Effectively they have looked at the Royal Charter proposal that would have underpinned an independent regulatory body and said “No, we’ll be fine thanks.” Don’t think so folks.

The BBC reports the changes they would make as:

The newspapers’ proposals are different from the government-backed scheme in that they:

  • Remove Parliament’s power to block or approve future changes to regulation. Instead the regulator, trade bodies and a newly-created “recognition panel” would have to agree to changes

A recognition panel will in practise look at the issue and shrug it’s shoulders as it will be empowered by the papers.

  • Would see the chair and members of the panel selected by an appointments committee chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge, and include one representative of the industry’s interests, one member representing the public interest and one public appointments assessor nominated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for England and Wales

Must be fully independent of the press-currently they decide amongst themselves and that would continue if they had their way here.

  • Remove a ban on former editors sitting on the panel

Again no inside deals. By putting former editors on the board you could be in a situation where as we had during Leveson previous editors being as accused as the current one.

  • Give newspaper and magazine readers a say on the industry’s proposals

The public only needs someone to stand up for them in the form of a regulator they can trust, they don’t need to have a say because they do that by buying the paper in the first place and keeping it running.

  • Make it more difficult to bring group complaints

Why? This is the dodgiest one of all because it stops ordinary people coming together to fight a multi-national corporation. Seriously it’s like condoning the bullies and giving them an advantage.

  • Change the power of the regulator to “direct” the nature, extent and placement of corrections and apologies, saying it should “require”, not “direct”

No. If you print a story over 5 pages that’s how long your apology should be also – and on the same numbered pages also.

The press are effectively ignoring everything that happened and saying they know best. Well you don’t because it is your actions that cased this issue in the first place. You hounded innocent people, tapped their phones, door-stepped them, had private investigators turning their lives upside down, you rummaged through bins to find anything you could, you lied and cheated and disgraced yourselves – so do not think for one moment we’ll all just shrug our shoulders because you’ve been good boys and girls since Leveson. The years of attacks and innuendo give you no right to stand up and demand things go your way.

The BBC, ITV, Channels 4 & 5 all have to play by the rules of Ofcom and it should be simple enough to keep your distance from government and any potential problems therein through a similar regulator, say OfPress. What is it you are so scared of that you refuse to yield to both public and political pressure?

Hacked off, the press campaign group with those who have been affected by previous press behaviour responded:

” This desperate move by editors and proprietors… is only the latest proof that most of the industry has learned no lessons from the Leveson experience. They are not sorry for the abuses exposed at the inquiry… and they do not accept the need for real change.”

If in five years they are caught hacking the phone of a dead teenager, or the phone of a grieving mother, or are haranguing an innocent man for a murder he didn’t commit, or accusing parents of killing their own child when there is no evidence for it, or listening into conversations of the most powerful politicians and royalty in the country and we have let them away with doing this already then we and our politicians are as much to blame as they are because we didn’t force the issue.

To find out more about the Hacked Off campaign and to sign the petition to make government sit up and notice the voices of those who put them in power go to http://hackinginquiry.org/



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