History and Politics Teacher and Head of Year 10, Mr Michael Jones’s take-aways on last year’s Leveson Inquiry:
1. What was it?
IT WAS NOT A SELECT COMMITTEE! It was a judge-led inquiry, set up by Prime Minister, David Cameron to examine the culture, practice and ethics of the press. It was set up in response to the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the broader feeling that relationships between politicians and press, and even the press and the police, have been far too cosy over recent years.
2. What did it recommend?
a) Newspapers should continue to be self-regulated and the government should have no power over what they publish.
b) There should be a new press standards body created by the industry, with a new code of conduct.
c) That body should be backed by legislation, which would create a means to ensure the regulation was independent and effective.
d) The arrangement would provide the public with confidence that their complaints would be seriously dealt with and ensure the press are protected from interference from the government.
3. Will his recommendations be implemented?
Prime Minister, David Cameron had reportedly promised to implement the recommendations, providing they were not “bonkers”. But within hours of the report’s publication, he said that he was not convinced legislation underpinning self-regulation was right. Mr Cameron then warned the press the “the clock is ticking” for them to introduce a self-regulation system with the tough powers set out by Lord Justice Leveson.
“That means million-pound fines, proper investigation of complaints, prominent apologies,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said he backed Leveson, highlighting a split within the coalition government. Labour leader, Ed Miliband has urged the government to accept the report in its entirety.
4. Who is campaigning?
The proposals are broadly supported by pressure group Hacked Off (@hackinginquiry), who enlisted North Norfolk’s premier digital radio DJ, chat show host, Daily Express reader and sports-casual trailblazer Alan Partridge to support their cause at www.hackinginquiry.org. The proposals are opposed by the Free Speech Network, representing editors and publishers, who warn of the dangers of government legislating on the press.
5. The Thick of It Parody
The Thick of It ran a superb parody of Leveson in the last series, culminating in an hour long special where the coalition government, the civil service staff of the fictitious Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC) and the opposition find themselves under the scrutiny of the Lord Justice Goolding’s Inquiry into the death of a Mr Tickel, and the practice of leaking in politics. Malcolm Tucker’s closing speech can be seen here.
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