back to article PM demands media clean-up, not keen on doing much himself

Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament this afternoon that he opposed any rush to legislate the press following recommendations put forward by Lord Justice Leveson on Thursday - but he added that newspaper barons needed to pull their finger out with self-regulation. The PM repeatedly used the idiom of "crossing the Rubicon …

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Flame

Come on

Cameron: He said that claims that Hunt had tried to rig Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB bid had been "shown to be wrong".

Bollocks - Vince Cable was removed and a pro-Murdoch stooge installed. If it wasn't for the phone hacking scandal blowing up it would have gone through

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Re: Come on

He must be guilty - they had a public enquiry that cleared him.

Short of standing over the body with a dripping knife that's about as guilty as a cabinet minister can get.

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Re: Come on

Vince Cable was removed from his decision-making role in the News Corp 'takeover' of BSkyB because he stated publicly that he "would declare war on Murdoch". As he was supposed to be operating quasi-judicially, this was a particularly silly thing to do. Leveson has confirmed that his replacement (the Spoonerism victim, Jeremy Hunt) acted appropriately.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Come on

Chris Miller is quite correct. After what Cable pulled, Hunt had to ensure News Corp wouldn't have a single complaint about his conduct. If Hunt had shown even a scrap of bias against News Corp, they would have had the government in court for years complaining about biased decision making. Cable is the one who cocked everything up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Come on

Vince Cable was removed because he was taped saying he would screw Murdoch.

In your tiny mind that makes him the right man for the job. The role is a quasi-judicial one and requires somebody unbiased.

So bias is not bias when it agrees with your prejudices?

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Meh

Does anyone

Actually listen to what these shysters actually say....

If they were an advertisement for Private Education I'd go comprehensive.

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Re: Come on

@Chris Miller

Vince Cable was removed from his decision-making role in the News Corp 'takeover' of BSkyB because he stated publicly that he "would declare war on Murdoch"

Not quite. Or at least he didn't intentionally make that statement publicly. He'd actually thought it was a statement made in confidence, but unfortunately for him, it turned out to be a "sting" operation by some jounalists working for the Daily Telegraph. Of course that hardly does him credit, but those are the facts. Of course, publicly intended or not, it made his role overseeing the decision untenable. Indeed I rather think that if he'd not been such a major character in the Lib-Dem side of the coalition it would have been a resigning matter...

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Re: Come on

Cable let it be known he opposed News Corp. Hunt let it be known he favoured them. Cable was sacked and replaced by Hunt. Both were known to be biased, but in opposite directions.

There's no evidence that Cable let his private views affect his decisions. There is some evidence that Hunt did; he appointed Michel and let him leak "absolutely illegal” material on the bid to News Corp. However, this is circumstantial. Hunt escaped because he had plausible deniability; his underling Michel took most of the blame.

Finally, it's worth noting that Cable was correct. Eventually the scandals meant News Corp had to withdraw. So Cable arguably was not prejudiced but had merely reached a judgement based on merit.

In a situation like this, the man at the top can avoid giving explicit orders. Michel knew the views of his boss Hunt. Hunt knew the views of his boss Cameron.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank god for cameron

Without such a PM we would surely be in a worse position!

- R. Brooks

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Holmes

To translate

"I would like to express my gratitude for the detailed and diligent work of Lord Leveson in creating this report and now that the obligatory report-making hoop has been jumped through we can toss it aside and carry on with business as usual with a few vague rumbles of agreement on some of the points raised."

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Pirate

to translate - part 2

" now I'm going back to Chipping Norton to ride my mate Charlie's (Bloody nice bloke) horses with his good lady wife Rebekah. Looking forward to Rupert's up-coming bash, though I seem to have amnesia everytime I attend one of those, no idea why."

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Cameron - Grow a pair!

So far we have had two versions of a voluntary self-regulation system for the press, well they worked out well didn't they?

From what I can see Lord Justice Leveson, is not proposing statutory regulation of the Press, just giving statutory backing to a new regulator.

But I guess Cameron needs to keep his paymaster happy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cameron - Grow a pair!

Have you got any evidence that Murdoch is paying Cameron - or are you just another frothing-at-the-mouth Guardian reading conspiracy loony?

My bad. Silly question.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cameron - Grow a pair!

The new regulator would be a de-facto quango run by politicians. It would be everything but fair and impartial.

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Re: Cameron - Grow a pair!

No I'm sure all of Murdoch's paper (including :The Sun Wot Won It" ) have a fiercely independent editorial line driven only by a careful analysis of the socio-economic impact of each parties manifesto and with total disregard to how their boss was treated

Similarly the great voting public would never be influenced by the tabloids come election time.

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@YAAc

I'm sure you're usually sceptical of the contents of The Sun, but for some reason you take their claim to have won an election to be gospel truth. In reality, it wasn't 'The Sun Wot Won It', it was the clueless Kinnock wot lost it. (Although, since he's gone on to secure euro-sinecures for himself and his entire useless family, with their attendant gold-plated, tax-free, six-figure pensions, I don't expect he grieves about it long winter evenings.)

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Alert

The press have had their chance...

I am in no way in favour of legislation that removes freedom of expression, but there need to be some way of enforcing the attendant *responsibility* that comes along with it, especially in the big media.

We've seen too many examples of the press printing blatant falsehoods and unsubstantiated stories and then, when they're called in front of their tame lapdog, the PCC (run by newspaper editors for newspaper editors) they say "it's just a difference of editorial opinion" and the PCC says "Right ho, no problem, see you down the pub for a few beers later".

We need a truly independent regulator to replace the PCC which has the teeth to force papers to behave or face fines and even imprisonment to stop them ruining innocent people's lives in a cavalier manner simply so they can sell more copy.

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Mushroom

Re: The press have had their chance...

As ever it's down to money, so kick em in the pockets cos if it isn't (literally) worth publishing something they won't.

'When I become PM' I'll introduce penalties such as

  • Minimum damages to libel victims to be all profit for the issue(s) offending text published in
  • Imprisonment for editors happy to scapegoat innocent citizens
  • Quadruple damages (as per first point) to privacy-invaded victims where Public Interest (as opposed to interested public) cannot be shown
  • Deportation for the entire readership of Hello and OK 'magazines'

Oh and when you leave school it's to do further education, an apprencticeship or the bloody army, in an effort to stem the tide of feckless lackwits.

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Re: The press have had their chance...

>Minimum damages to libel victims to be all profit for the issue(s) offending text published in

Yep more libel tourism - that's what we need.

A friend of mine is called Fitch, obviously being libelled by the janitor in the Harry Potter, so should be worth some lawyer taking a punt in return for all the HP profits.

>Imprisonment for editors happy to scapegoat innocent citizens

Yes that's not going to restrict reporting.

>Quadruple damages (as per first point) to privacy-invaded victims where Public Interest (as opposed to >interested public) cannot be shown

Public interest being decided by the government.court/police ? -

Or just by the side with the most expensive lawyers.

>Deportation for the entire readership of Hello and OK 'magazines'

At last, sensible policies for a better Britain.

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Anonymous Coward

Cameron is doing the right thing

I think muzzling the press would be the absolute worst thing that could happen. We already have laws for dealing with phone hacking and police bribery, we don't need more useless legislation.

Let's be honest, if News of the World had hacked Tony Blair's phone and got the proverbial smoking gun where he admitted to Bush that he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, no-one would care that they'd hacked his phone (well, except Labour who would have probably introduced exactly the sort of thing Leveson is recommending overnight).

We need a press that is capable of shining a light on corruption and criminal activities. Anything that blunts that ability is bad. If some papers decide that who Sienna Miller is shagging is worth breaking the law for, then that's up to them and they'll be prosecuted for it. The rest of the press shouldn't be gagged just to sort out one rogue operation.

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Re: Cameron is doing the right thing

Upvoted for truth.

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Re: Cameron is doing the right thing

Yeah but we don't need a press which demonises innocent members of the public who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, chases and hounds people even when they're on holiday just because they're shiny in some way (royal, rich, famous, ginger, etc).

We need a press with integrity instead of cynically pandering to the lowest common denominator and without painful financial penalties to ensure it's literally not _worth_ risking publishing drivel and bullshit they will continue to churn out dross to the slack-jawed dribbling masses that seem to inhabit the UK these days, all the the expenses of someone else's misery & suffering, usually.

What you're on about by the Tony Bliar example would be an 'overriding public interest' and I'm fairly sure that would get by a judge, although perhaps not MI6...

Kate Middleton's tits, however, are not.

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FAIL

Re: Cameron is doing the right thing

s/without/with/ financial penalties <-- oops

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Paris Hilton

Shame!

Shame the powers that be did not decide on the same approach with UK banks and finance sector.

Imagine that?

The banks and finance sector responsible for what havoc it created?

Now that would be a good thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Wow ITT dozen odd of people who want to jettison free press and live in a world of state regulated media, all because the police didn't do their jobs.

Great job guys.

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Anonymous Coward

Also I recon most of the people getting all emotional are the same cattle that spent years going "oh celebrities don't deserve privacy, why is it a problem if the NoTW hack their phones"

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WTF?

The problem isn't the press

It is the endless hordes of stupid bleating-sheep proles who have no ability to filter out the prejudice inherent in most journalism. Be that Daily Mail reader casually-racist jug-ogling jingoism on one hand or the smug soft-left Guardianista propaganda machine that is the Beeb on the other.

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Mushroom

Legislation needed

Apparently phone hacking and bribing policemen was legal before Leveson noticed it wasn't.

Like killing patients was legal before Shipman.

Like hijacking and murder were legal before 9-11.

It's always easier to pass new legislation, launch a few new QUANGOs and implement new red tape at the taxpayer's expense, than enforce existing safeguards and laws.

I'd argue Cameron is possibly showing some balls for the first time.

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Missing the point

Leveson seems to have missed the main point: this was not a failing of the law, but a failing of law *enforcement*. Some reporters broke the law; the police knew about it, but did nothing. Some police broke the law, too, selling information to reporters - of course, they got away with that completely.

Forget 'judicial inquiry': we should have had a criminal investigation of the journalists *and police* involved, leading to prosecutions and sackings of everyone caught - press or not.

One proposal I do like, though, is the introduction of whistleblower/ethical protection, that journalists should be free to refuse an assignment or instruction on ethical grounds. Why limit that to journalists, though? A few professions already have it to some extent, but it should be much more widespread: system administrators instructed to violate a user's privacy, for example. (Yes, there are some laws which *forbid* sysadmins from doing some things, but is there enough protection in place for us to refuse to do things we believe to be illegal and/or morally wrong?)

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