Evgeny Lebedev, son of the owner of the Independent and the Evening Standard, has said that he thinks the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) did not show itself as being ‘fit for purpose’ during the phone-hacking issue.
Lebedev, who was responsible for hiring Chris Blackwood as the new editor of the Independent last week, said in a blog on the Guardian website that the recent conduct of the PCC shows there is no proof that the organisation is fit for purpose.
In his blog, Lebedev said that this was “all the more regrettable for coming at a time when the proper conduct of the media is under great pressure from advances in technology, and the distinction between what is in the public interest, and what is of interest to the public, is getting harder to make.
“On the latter – what is of interest to the public – the case of Fred Goodwin is instructive. The Royal Bank of Scotland boss is alleged to have had an affair before the bank's collapse. Is it right that the public should know of his affair, given its liabilities for his errors? My answer is yes.
“On the former – what is in the public interest – social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have changed the media landscape permanently, and for the better. Journalism is more open and collaborative than ever. Consumers of media are participating in a conversation, not listening to a lecture. But a consequence of this is the anarchic flow of information, and the difficulty of legislating effectively on it.
“But laws mean nothing if they are not enforced. It is nonsensical to pass laws without genuine efforts to tackle the behaviour they prohibit. And so while with phone hacking the problem was not one of having the wrong laws in place but rather failing to apply those laws properly, so in the age of social media the idea of a privacy law is both impracticable and naive.”