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back to article Journo register gaffe a boon for media overlords

New Labour showed both its technological illiteracy and authoritarian streak by floating plans to establish an official register of journalists from which miscreants might be struck off. Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis suggested the idea as a sanction against rogue reporters in the wake of the ongoing News International …

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Gimp

Ah. I see.

So after all the good words about cracking down on short-termism and looking like they'd changed, it turns out they are the same Labour through-and-through.

Thank you for restoring my world-view on this, I was worried I was going to have to start thinking of Labour as a credible democratic party and not as a morass of fascist totalitarians.

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Anonymous Coward

some mistake ..

Glad this Louise Mensch is making a stand for fundamental freedoms

Quite unlike the

Louise "shutdown twitter and facebook" Mensch ?

or

Lousie "abuse parliamentary privelege slander a journalist and take it back" Mensch ?

I can't stand politicians at the best of times. But the attention seeking rentaquote mob are pretty annoying on their own

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Big Brother

No, no, no, you see it the wrong way.

It's a positive thing: if you're photographing on the street and you can show you're on the list to the bobby that immediately pops up, then you can go on with your business. (Otherwise, it's buy-bye to the camera.) So it's for journalists own good, really.

Now, let me get on the board of the quango that administers the list, letting people on for only £8/year ("citizen journalists/bloggers"), or £80/year ("professional journalists"). Cheap even at twice the price, and remember, for in own interest.

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Big Brother

You can go on with your business anyway as there is no law against photography in a public place.

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Scotsfox: I think...

... your irony detector is broken...

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Anonymous Coward

Special Struck Off Legislation Already in place

We already have legislation to deal with journo's breaking the law to hack phones, etc,

It's called the Computer Misuse Act, RIPA, etc.

Use the law as it stands, lock'em up, and the only things they will be able to report on is what was for lunch at 'scrubs, and what book "big frank" is currently reading

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Anonymous Coward

Scandal comes out, Public support the actions of the law, Government then tries to make a few quid out of it and passes it off as a benefit to the public.

All this is is a way for the government to introduce a journalism tax by forcing license renewals each year, for a fee, and the registration in the first place, for a larger fee naturally.

So a Government controlled licensing scheme for the people responsible for bringing us our news, one in which the government can decide who does and doesn't get a license. They must have got that idea from Hu Jintao.

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struck off MPs?

Maybe we need a register for elected politicians?

...or let me guess, crims can't put up for election either (I mean after they get convicted, of course).

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Boffin

A much simpler, workable, solution

Here's a better way to do it that doesn't require direct Governmental interference in the process:

1. An independent (from publications) oversight body can ban journalists for a range of periods - 6 months, 1, 2 or 5 years, and so on - for any of a list of specified offences.

2. Corporate liability insurers are not permitted to offer cover for claims arising from the actions of journalists banned by that body at the time of the offence (including any who are in an appeals process against an existing ban).

And that's it.

Big publishers would therefore accept unlimited financial liability if they make use of banned journos. There's no list of "permitted" or "chartered" journalists, just a blacklist of banned ones. The Government can't use the process to pervert the freedom of the Press, or to bring about career death for a journo writing stuff the Government doesn't like - it would have to apply to the oversight body just as any other person or organisation would.

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Big Brother

A much simpler workable solution

Don't do it at all.

Journalism isn't a protected activity - what is protected is freedom of expression and the freedom of the press (which is an abstract idea - not a defined list of organisations). The price we pay for those freedoms is that some people will abuse them.

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Anonymous Coward

Surprise!

"Trade mag UK Press Gazette openly mocked the journalist register plan while the Daily Mail described the idea as a "creepy attack on press freedom".

Surprise, the media attack a proposal, an idea, a way to reign in media and journo's.

Wow, it's like looking through glass!

Anyone with 1/2 a brain cell can see that something should be done, regardless of how bitchy the media become. Someone needs to clip their wings, we sure can't rely on them to be honest an trust worthy by themselves! We hardly need evidence of that.

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Gold badge

Ah the politicians' syllogism

Something MUST be done!

This is something.

We should do this...

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Bronze badge

"Anyone with 1/2 a brain cell can see that something should be done, regardless of how bitchy the media become."

And the very fact that you typed that neatly demonstrates that you have been somewhat shortchanged in the grey matter department yourself.

It's not the case that something should be done. It is the case that something should have been done when the phone hacking scandal broke, but it wasn't. The government at the time pretty much turned a blind eye to the whole affair and hoped the public would forget about it. What should be done is that people who break the law should be prosecuted. Organizations where law breaking is standard practice should be prosecuted, and so should their directors.

Of course Mr Bean and his mates want us to forget that the whole thing happened when Labour were in power and want us to blame the coalition. Sorry guys but some of us can remember further back than yesterday's headlines. Any inquiry into journalistic phone hacking should not stop with the media and the police handling of the case. It should also include the actions and conduct of ministers at the time.

Labour however believe that some sort of register or database is all you need to solve any problem. Of course CRB checks completely stopped child abuse by people working with children. They didn't? Well fancy that.

Consider how many politicians have been sent to the naughty step and come back, Labour stalwarts among them. Peter Mandelson come on down. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. How about a register of politicians and a code of practice for politicians. Anybody found breaking that code of practice should be barred from holding any form of public office. Up for that are we Lewis?

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FAIL

All true

Good demolition.

Most of the problems with the media already involve laws being broken. We just need existing laws enforced properly, not more badly thought-out laws which are just enacted so that Labour can be thought (by themselves) to be 'doing something'.

They really need to show that they have learned some lessons - so far they haven't begun to do that.

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Bronze badge

"We just need existing laws enforced properly, not more badly thought-out laws which are just enacted so that Labour can be thought (by themselves) to be 'doing something'."

Now look back at the number of laws passed during 13 years of the last Labour administration. Notice how many of them were laws that weren't needed, but were just there in order that Labour could be seen to be doing something.

And therein lies the problem with the modern Labour party. Even when they have been in government for over a decade they still think like a party that is in opposition. When you are in opposition you can cry "something MUST be done!" and come up with the most badly thought out ideas because you know you will never have to follow through on them. The trouble with being in government is that if you follow through on your ill conceived, half baked ideas they end up on the statute books.

But of course if we think that Labour politicians are stupid we should spare a thought for the great British voter. Yes that's all you fucktards who kept on voting for them just because the "value" of your house was going up.

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Silver badge

Why argue?

"Critics will argue the party is against an independent press and free expression through a diverse range of outlets."

That party *is* against all those things. There is no need for an argument...

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Lewis is a jerk and this would be called a knee jerk reaction if it wasn't so slow in coming.

The whole thing happened when labour were in power and they did the absolute minimum they could about it at the time. Lewis was no doubt trying to grab a few headlines because Mr Bean's Labour have so few new policies and they really wanted some headlines out of this conference. For example Mr Bean spoke of cracking down on benefit fraud, but for as long as I've had an interest in politics every prime minister has said basically the same thing, but not really done anything about it for the fear of losing votes. As such that wasn't much of an attention grabber.

Lewis' little speech was, however, a weird way of getting headlines or at least positive ones. Announce that you are going to regulate journalists and most people are going to get that news filtered and spun by journalists. Given that modern party conference is essentially a PR excercise, a carefully orchestrated week long press conference if you like, you have to wonder which particular spin doctor approved that particular speech.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh really>

Quote: "Regulation is not going to prevent people publishing a blog or maintaining a scurrilous Twitter feed."

Unless you get that one regulated as well which is not far of from the "Dream Britain" as imagined in the nuLieBore thought process. It is in fact "lighter touch" than for example having everyone within 10m from a child on a register of some sorts.

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Typical politician

Ivan got caught sending a female aide text messages (well according to the daily mail anyway)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/mailonsunday/article-1053147/Minister-Im-sorry-sending-suggestive-texts-girl-aide-24.html

So I can see why he would be interested in curbing press freedom. As a boss of mine once said, if you think it would be embarassing to see on the front page of the sun, sent to your wife / parents / kids don't say or do it and definitely don't send an email about it.

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Mushroom

If something does need doing....

.... then NuLab are absolutely the wrong people to do it. They were in bed with Murdoch for over a decade and now they're not best buddies the knives come out. Like they didn't know what he was like in the first place eh?

13 years of more laws, more bureaucrats, more self serving venal scum who've never done anything other than "politics". Anyone listening to anything this lot say is utterly deranged.

Fuck the lot of them.

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Silver badge

It certainly wouldn't hurt if journalists had to be accredited

A national register is a stupid idea but it wouldn't hurt if journalists were actually required to be accredited to demonstrate some level of competency. Core subjects could be ethics, critical thinking, law with specialist certification to cover certain subjects - politics, science, medicine, crime etc.

The problem is too much reporting starts from a position of ignorance and goes downhill from there.

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Silver badge

You mean like a Bachelor of Journalism?

Like my (and I am sure plenty of other universities worldwide) already offer?

While having such courses available is certainly good, requiring them - as discussed in the article - is problematic: do you need a Journalism degree to blog? Or only to blog if your readership goes above a certain threshold number - what should that number be? Do you need one to write puff-pieces for your local rag? For the parish/school newsletter? To write for small-distribution online news chanels? What exactly is 'small' distribution? There is no clear line as to what 'Journalism' is.

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Bronze badge

Why would you need accreditation for journalists?

Pick up any paper and you can usually identify whether any given article is written by a good journalist or a bad one. The only people who need their journalists to be accredited would surely be the hard of thinking. And people like that wouldn't give two hoots about it in the first place. As long as it's salacious then they're happy.

But at a more basic level why would anybody having studied long enough to pass the exam you describe ("Core subjects could be ethics, critical thinking, law with specialist certification to cover certain subjects - politics, science, medicine, crime etc") be interested in going into journalism?

Has it ever occurred to you that you don't need anything at all to qualify you as a politician. Remember you can take or leave the writings of a journalist. The work of politicians shapes almost every aspect of our lives, yet you seem to be suggesting that a journalist should be accredited while a politician should not.

Oh and on a less serious note you seem to be suggesting that journalists take examinations in crime. Wouldn't have thought most of them needed to. They seem pretty expert already.

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Boffin

"Pick up any paper and you can usually identify whether any given article is written by a good journalist or a bad one."

Yet people still buy the Daily Mail in their thousands, every day...

Clearly sensible people like you and I should have access to totally un-censored media, but the plebs clearly need "approved" media only.

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Bronze badge

"Clearly sensible people like you and I should have access to totally un-censored media, but the plebs clearly need "approved" media only."

Exactly my point. No matter how stupid you are you have the vote. What we have here is a politician who basically wants to control what the great unwashed read. And that is the thin end of the wedge.

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Anonymous Coward

Daily Mail described the idea as a "creepy attack on press freedom".

You mean the Daily Mail actually got it right for once?!? Surely this is the end of the world?

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Childcatcher

But,

WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!

Surprised that did not pop up in this context.

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FAIL

When I was a local councillor I wrote my own leaflets - that's technically journalism. So, in future I'd have to get a license from the very people I'm criticising?!?

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Anonymous Coward

I'll ammend

Although salaried journalists tend to look down on news blogs, political bloggers......

to

Although salaried journalists tend to look down on news blogs, preffering to rip content straight from facebook and twitter, policitcal...

There....

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