Three days after the publication of Lord Justice Leveson's report The Drum looks at the top stories across the media this weekend.
James Delingpole from the Telegraph has wrote that “Press regulation only helps the bad guys." In his piece he gives instances where press regulation is already a hindrance to investigative reporting. Concluding that “Press regulation is already quite dangerous and counterproductive enough as it is. Imagine how much more dangerous it would be if it actually had teeth.”Telegraph columnist Daniel Hannan is also concerned about who will be making these laws, as many seem more concerned with the victim’s response to the Leveson report. His headline reads: “Victims are the last people who should set policy”. He suggests “most of those brandishing the ‘victims test’ in response to Leveson would be horrified at the suggestion that, say, the parents of a murdered child should decide whether the killer deserved the death penalty. They would point out, correctly, that such parents are emotionally involved, and can’t make a disinterested assessment of what constitutes justice.” Independent on Sunday
The Independent on Sunday’s Editorial column runs with the headline: “Only a free press is democratic”. The article states that “The Independent on Sunday believes that, if other newspapers are prepared to engage honestly and urgently with the task of a total overhaul of press regulation, it can be done without the need for a new law to give any arm of government a role. “We urge the victims and others campaigning for statutory regulation to listen not to David Cameron, whose motives are suspect, but to Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty and an "assessor" for the Leveson inquiry, who dissented from the judge's conclusions in a little-noticed footnote on page 1,775. She says that press regulation should be overseen by the courts rather than by a government-appointed body such as Ofcom.”
The Observer’s Andrew Lawnsley also picks up on David Cameron’s “suspect motives” for backing a free press. He asks us to imagine the £5m; government commissioned inquiry was investigating abuses perpetrated by doctors or lawyers rather than the press. What would the press say when, after a 16-month investigation, the report was put on the “same dusty shelf that already groans with seven previous inquiries?” Lawnsely says “We know what would be happening now. The newspapers would be monstering the prime minister as the most feeble creature ever to darken the door of Number 10. But since this is about the newspapers themselves, David Cameron has received some of the most adulatory headlines of his seven years as Tory leader.”He concludes by saying that “the British press has been given what may be a very last opportunity to show that it doesn't need a law,” put in place by Cameron, “to stop sections of Panorama behaving as if they were beyond the law.”