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back to article Leveson: My Whingers' Charter™ is PERFECT, you impudent MPs

Brian Leveson, the Wikipedia-quoting judge, stonewalled MPs looking for his opinion on press regulation on Thursday. Leveson's public inquiry into the "culture and ethics" of British newspapers recommended that legislation be introduced, for the first time in over 300 years, that allows political control over the published word …

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Anonymous Coward

Judges don't comment

They pronounce and that's it.

You won't get a judge appearing on TV after the conclusion of a trial at the Old Bailey saying "I could tell he was a wrong'un from the start."

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Re: Judges don't comment

Spot on. Leveson's role was to investigate and write a report with recommendations - which he did.

It's now up to politicians to take those recommendations and establish a functional framework.

That's their job - not his.

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Re: Judges don't comment

FUNCTIONAL? They?

http://aleckpalad.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/cuneiform.jpg

(Being thrifty with links is a Good Thing, saith Utnapishtim)

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Re: Judges don't comment

"It's now up to politicians to take those recommendations and establish a functional framework."

Ha ha - I thought you said. Oh wait . . .

No, it is up to the politicians to take those recommendations, implement the ones they wanted to anyway (using the report as justification) and silently reject any they don't like.

That's okay on the face of it but most of these reports are not just a short list of bullet points but in depth studies of causes and effects, costs, risks and legal ramifications, and often the recommendations only work effectively when implemented together.

That's not to say some reports aren't one-eyed reams of drivel, of course.

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good article..

This is what happens when you allow like Hugh Grant and Coogan , plus MPs to be involved in press regulation!

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Re: good article..

OK, I'll bite - in terms of ensuring that the press does not abuse its power, is the current Press Complaints Commission 'too strong', 'too weak', or 'just right'?

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I'm not quite sure, but I do get a subtle impression that you are not in favour of any additional press regulation?

That you think the whole phone-hacking thing can be prevented in the future by just saying sorry?

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Not even saying sorry...

It would appear they think that the right response to printing lies, hacking phones etc is to attack anyone who says "perhaps you should say sorry?".

After all, if we disagree with you in any way whatsoever we must hate Britain and be as bad as Stalin and that German bloke.

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(Written by Reg staff)

"that German bloke"

Erich Honecker?

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quote: "I'm not quite sure, but I do get a subtle impression that you are not in favour of any additional press regulation?

That you think the whole phone-hacking thing can be prevented in the future by just saying sorry?"

Far better to have all media releases pre-approved by the Ministry of Truth, eh, than have people's voicemail hacked by nasty, evil, lying Bagginses journalists?

IMO the whole phone hacking thing cannot be prevented. Regulate the snot out of the papers and they'll just leave the hacking to other people and buy the info from them (possibly 3rd or 4th hand, to provide enough plausible deniability). You won't eradicate it, the same way we still haven't eradicated drug use or terrorism via legislation.

The real question here is where to draw the line, or in effect where most of society would be happy to draw the line, between complete freedom of the press and total control of the press by the state.

I'd rather it was closer to press freedoms than state control, personally :)

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'That you think the whole phone-hacking thing can be prevented in the future by just saying sorry?'

Or the Police doing their actual job of arresting criminals rather than accepting bribes from them...

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> Leveson justified his conclusions because - having agreed with Conor Burns MP that yes, press

> abuses were covered by the law, people didn't have easy access to justice.

I think that is the point: There are already statutory sanctions in place. Claimants just do not want to go through with the proceedings in a court because they incur the risk of expenses they can not offset if they lose. So they want an easier way to complain.

This shifts the burden to the press that has to defend. If you lower the threshold too much, you end up with extortionate proceedings.

I wonder if the whole point would not be moot if instead of handing damages to complainants, the right of reply is strengthened. You could still seek damages in ordinary court proceedings and you could defend effectively against being slagged of in public with the right of reply. Extortionate claims would be more difficult under this regime.

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The whole "Phone Hacking" thing an be prevented by the police doing their jobs and the MP's not telling them to ignore it!

Those actions were illegal then and are still illegal now!

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no win no fee - then no payoff

Perhaps it should be the rule that anyone bringing a no win no fee case should equally not be allowed to collect damages. These would instead be paid into, say, the Legal Aid scheme. So offenders would be punished, but there would be fewer worthless cases and appeals brought.

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Re: "that German bloke"

The media company owners are part of the Cabal that want to censor all media output, the internet and end our rights of free expression. Don't believe their huffing and puffing, it's all bluff.

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Phone hacking is already illegal, as is bribing police officers to get information about criminal cases, so perhaps a better route would be more resources to investigate such abuses, and perhaps toughening up punishments on already existing crimes?

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Re: "that German bloke"

You are Englishmen, mind your Privilege, give not away your Right.

-- William Pen

http://www.worldpolicy.newschool.edu/wpi/globalrights/religion/penn-trial.html

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Wouldn't it be nice

If newspapers and TV reports simply stuck to telling us the unassailable facts, rather than filling their pages or 24*7 broadcasts with gossip, opinion, innuendo, criticism or value judgments.

It would certainly save a lot of newsprint.

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Re: Wouldn't it be nice

Whose facts would they print?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: left wing broadsheet ... The Independent

Er, what? I wouldn't describe the Independent as left wing ... just generally somewhere about the centre; not being right wing doesn't make it a lefty by default.

Still, ymmv, I suppose.

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WTF?

Re: left wing broadsheet ... The Independent

Ermmm who's the star writer for the Independent? Owen Jones who makes the delusional Polly Toynbee look like a Tory.

YMMV indeed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the star writer for the Independent?

Robert Fisk?

Owen Jones is just some random columnist, isn't he? And the Independent tends to have columnists that lean in various directions, not just one. Even if OJ leans left, not all do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the star writer for the Independent?

Owen Jones is the replacement for the plagiarist Johann Hari and isn't some "random columnist" :D

Robert Fisk's articles have been declining in frequency since the Russians took over the paper - which incidentally is the time that the phrase "We're independent, are you?" was removed from the paper.

It used to be a very good paper, but the Hari fiasco, the delusional Jones and the Russians have actually resulted in a left wing paper which is MORE unpopular than the Guardian, which is some going by any standards. Right enough if you remove the thousands of Guardians which the BBC buys every day its probably not far off being neck and neck for bottom of the barrel.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: left wing broadsheet ... The Independent

Why are the columnists being used to judge the lefty or righty-ness of a paper? Should you not look at the reporting instead?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: even more unpopular

Regarding your "unpopular" claim, presumably you are referring to a lower circulation than the Guardian. So what? There are no doubt any number of small(er) journals, magazines, and newspapers that, by your token, would even be "even more unpopular than the Independent" - even though they might well provide better coverage of their own chosen scope than any number with higher sales figures.

Interestingly, the best criticism of the Independent I have heard came from a Guardian reader I met - he pointed out "they've go no reporters" ... i.e. too much of their content comes from press agencies.

And, in passing, while Fisk's articles have indeed been declining in frequency, I assumed that was because he's getting on a bit and is gradually retiring, rather than as part of some Russian plot. Also, and of perhaps greater relevance to our debate, he's tending to write columnist/analysis articles, and do less reporting.

For me, the value of a newspaper is all in the reporting, not the editorial/analysis/columnist fluff that gets used to pad out the pages. Newspaper columnists, particularly, tend to go in for loaded adjectives, cherry picked anecdotes, spurious correlations, and the like. Not really my thing.

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Expertise in interpreting law isn't the same as expertise in setting public policy or making law!

'Because his conclusion was based on his own expert knowledge of the law: that was all that was needed.'

This is a traditional and often lucrative mistake for the legal profession and those that use them.

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How does this apply to El Reg commentards? Because this Leveson bloke can fuck right off. Also he dresses funny and throws like a girl.

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Re: How does this apply to El Reg commentards

Hopefully it doesn't.

If it does apply, I think MS/Apple/any other firm that's looking to make up for lost revenues may have found a new cash cow....

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Anonymous Coward

Its the price you pay ...

At this point someone usually says "The gutter press is the price you pay for freedom of speech." Which is true.

However, we can now say "Press regulation is the price you pay for allowing Paul Dacre (and his ilk) freedom of speech."

The UK press has been given dozens of last chances to sort out the Boys Club ... sorry IPCC, and like an England striker faced with a penalty shoot-out, hit row 55 every time. It is now time for HMP to stop whinging and reflect on their colleagues' idiocy.

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Best laws money can buy

Remember: the press is already "controlled" by civil and criminal law, which, in the era of super-injunctions and human-rights law, is probably tougher than ever before.

That is if you can afford it, super-injunctions are not cheap, as to human-rights law can you get legal aid for that?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Best laws money can buy

You're right that the EU privacy law is mostly used by the super rich: Rooney set an important precedent there. Facts that were already in the public domain were included in a biography - Rooney successfully blocked publication.

#Chilling Effect No.1

No Win No Fee has changed everything - it's available for libel and has lowered the risk to litigants, turning into a speculative sport.

#Chilling Effect No.2

Free speech is far less free than it was 10 years ago.

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Too one-sided at the moment

The primary thing needed is an arbitration mechanism that prevents whichever side has less money being legally disadvantaged.

Media companies can often be at a disadvantage because they should an unfair financial burden to defend themselves against legal claims when powerful organisations or individuals are accusing them.

On the other hand, individual complainants are at an equally large disadvantage when trying to seek financial redress from those same media companies.

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Anonymous Coward

Anyone who's ever read The Daily Express (which doesn't even belong to the PCC) or The Daily Mail knows that the current setup is woefully inadequate.

The press have had long enough to sort out their own house, and they have failed to do so.

An independent commission is what is needed, and the current proposals are about as close to that as we're going to get.

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