Consultation on the Leveson Inquiry
The Government is currently consulting about two key issues relating to the implementation of the framework for independent self-regulation of the press that was agreed by Parliament after the first stage of the Leveson Inquiry. The consultation questions whether Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 should be commenced and if Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry should go ahead. Whatever your views on press regulation, as teachers and researchers in the field we encourage you to make sure your concerns are heard. The Consultation ends on 10th January 2017.
MeCCSA has already made a formal submission. Members have written extensively about Leveson, and Three-D Issue 20, Issue 24 and Issue 27 all contained a number of articles that might be of interest by way of background context.
MeCCSA also submitted the below letter, addressed to Karen Bradley, along with our response to the DCMS consultation.
Dear Karen Bradley,
As teachers and researchers in media and journalism, we are deeply concerned about the terms of the public consultation you announced recently on whether two elements of the Leveson reforms should be abandoned. These are ‘Section 40’, which will create a new right of access to affordable justice in libel and privacy while giving news publishers incentives to join a recognised independent regulator – and Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry, designed to probe press criminality and police collusion.
The consultation appears so skewed to serve the interests of the big newspaper corporations that it obscures the fundamental point of the Leveson reforms: to bring news publishers into a system of independent, effective self regulation that will encourage high ethical standards while protecting the public from the consequences of unethical behaviour.
The consultation document barely acknowledges the concerns of victims of press abuse about access to justice and the problems with the industry complaints body, IPSO. Rather, the aim of the document appears to be designed to garner support for IPSO, a regulator set up by the big newspaper corporations against the express intent of Leveson recommendations. This is wholly inappropriate.
Indeed the consultation as a whole is inappropriate, given that these reforms were the result of a rare cross-party agreement, subsequently endorsed by every party in Parliament, which did everything possible to exclude politicians from future involvement in press regulation matters. By giving yourself powers of decision over the terms of press regulation you are flouting this principle and compromising press freedom.
We urge you and the government to ensure that the public can have complete confidence that this consultation does not succumb to the immense power of newspaper corporations and that it genuinely delivers what it promises – press regulation that “works for everyone and not just the privileged few”.
Write to your MP
We encourage you to write to your MP about the consultation on Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and the commencement of ‘Section 40’. Insert your postcode below and you will be taken directly to the WriteToThem page for your local MP.
In your letter to your MP you may wish to express concern about the terms of the consultation being skewed and highlight the following points:
- Both Section 40 and Part 2 of the Inquiry have already been agreed by both houses of Parliament after extensive debate and consultation.
- The Leveson reforms did everything possible to exclude politicians from future involvement in press regulation matters, but the government has delayed them coming into effect after coming under pressure from the big newspaper corporations.
- Karen Bradley is flouting this principle and compromising press freedom by giving herself powers of decision over the terms of press regulation.
- By holding this consultation, the Government is contravening the will of Parliament.
- Leveson Part 2 is designed to interrogate press criminality and police collusion. With the outcome of the Hillsborough enquiry and the sentencing of Mazher Mahmood it is more urgent than ever that this goes ahead.
Please urge your MP to:
- encourage Karen Bradley to do what Parliament agreed: commence Section 40 immediately and begin Leveson Part 2.