October 31, 2012

The most boring headline out of the UK: Leveson report delayed


Jeremy Paxman

The release of the Leveson Report, which has been investigating newspaper practices in the United Kingdom after the phone-hacking scandal has been delayed until late November.

Lisa O’Carroll reports in The Guardian of strenuous lobbying from some newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail. Both papers are members of the lobby group, the Free Speech Network, which are warning that any regulations recommended by Lord Justice Leveson would,

“spell the slow, painful death of a raucous, audacious and impertinent press able to speak truth to power on behalf of its readers and entertaining enough to secure their loyalty. We would all be the losers.”

As O’Carroll notes, the Free Speech Network is directly opposing the group Hacked Off, which is advocating stricter regulation.

The fight over control of the press seems to becoming heightened as a political fight, with a number of Tory politicians indicating they would oppose stricter rules, while Labor, for the most part, seems ready to back Leveson’s recommendations.

So many parties have a vested interest, and the fight will only begin in earnest once the recommendations are released. For example,

“Lord Black, executive director of Telegraph Media Group and chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, which funds the Press Complaints Commission, has also been lobbying against any form of statutory-based system, warning it could take three years to establish, and possibly longer because of the threat of a legal challenge.”

It will be interesting to see what public response is provoked. Politicians and lobbyists will certainly have more room to move the longer the inquiry takes, given that public interest and outrage has already begun to fade.



Ariel Bogle is a former publicist at Melville House.