Here’s our preliminary statement on the Leveson Report released today.
Media Reform welcomes the Leveson report, much of which is close to Media Reform recommendations.
It makes clear that the Hunt/Black (PCC) reform plan is inadequate and “doesn’t come close to what is needed”. It was: “the industry marking its own home work.”
Importantly it specifically rules out the licensing of individual journalists.
It recommends a new regulatory body that would be independent of both parliament and proprietors.
It recognizes the importance of public interest in adjudicating on press complaints and suggestions (though sadly doesn’t mandate) a conscience clause for journalists.
It lays out a process by which arbitration decisions could be taken into consideration in further court cases and where media organisations fail to join the new body they could face exemplary damages.
This follows the Media Reform suggestions that we should have self-regulation but underpinned by law and that it would contain clear incentives for all to join. This would ensure that media organisations could not afford NOT to join the self-regulatory body.
Although much of what we asked for is here and we will campaign for its implementation as soon as possible, there is a great deal that has been left out. In particular we are disappointed that Leveson felt unable to tackle head on the issues of media plurality and media concentration. These are not side issues but core to the building of an ethical an representative press.
We will continue actively to campaign on all these issues.