Like one of Tom Stoppard’s characters, I am all for a free press. It is mainly newspapers and media outlets which I cannot abide; in particular the way in which their owners and employees have been able to circumvent or plain disregard existing laws which less powerful individuals would expect to be enforced with alacrity if they transgressed.
After SarahAB’s cogitation on the way in which vocal opponents of the status quo ante have framed the public debate such that anyone who disagrees with them are shown to be, not just wrong, but not worth considering, comes confirmation of an agreement between Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.
The essence of Cameron’s desire for a watchdog under Royal Charter appears to remain, although it is to be assumed he has given ground to Clegg and Miliband who may or may not have based their demands on pressure by film actors who were publically embarrassed by the media. Or by the Lord Puttnam whose attempt to place a Leveson-like dog in the Defamation manger came two decades after reports suggesting he availed himself of services at the Wigmore Club.
In Scotland, political leaders are distancing themselves from the recommendations of the McLusky Report which was commissioned to propose a separate and parallel regulatory system in Scotland. I never was sure how smoothly this would work, especially with publications and broadcasts which straddled the Border. And, following released of the report, Ed Jacobs at at Leftfoot Forward says that this includes Alex Salmond.
The recommendations had gone beyond Leveson with calls for statutory regulation as opposed to ‘merely’ threatening non-compliance with punitive measures even if the courts ruled in their favour; and extending this to bloggers, social media websites and other amateur – in the sense of not being paid – commenting.