This threat to Press freedom is so wrong - and I speak as a victim of hacking
The judicial inquiry into the conduct of the Press, set up in 2011 and chaired by Sir Brian Leveson, was a key part of that push for greater official oversight.
But now, as we approach the New Year, the pressure for greater restrictions appears to be reaching a new level of intensity.
So what is wrong with that? Well, take a look at the organisation that will carry out the regulatory role. Blunkett doesn't seem to like people with money standing up to the press or people without a pot to piss in doing it
It is none other than a self-appointed lobby group called Impress filled with anti-Press campaigners and almost entirely bankrolled — to the tune of £3.8 million — by the multi-millionaire Max Mosley, a man with a clear vendetta against popular newspapers. You couldn’t make this up.
Now it might be expected that I would be in favour of some curtailment of Press freedom, given that my family was one of the high-profile victims of the hacking scandal when elements of the Press decided to investigate my personal life. It was a harrowing time, which culminated in my providing evidence for the prosecution in one of the criminal hacking trials.
But my own experience, however painful it was, does not prevent me from recognising the real dangers of taking a regulatory and financial sledgehammer to the British Press, which is already under severe strain because of ferocious competition from social media on the internet.
Yes, we must respect the rights of those who have been unfairly treated by the Press. There have to be mechanisms to provide them with redress.
For their part, Impress and its anti-Press ally Hacked Off, a hardline advocate of tough State regulation, like to pose the question: ‘Whose side are you on: the victims or the Press?’
But it should not be a simplistic, binary choice. We can support victims of Press intrusion without seeking to crush basic liberties that stretch back to the end of the 17th century, not least at this moment when it is the print media and properly moderated and edited information which is under the cosh. No redress exists for what is put out by unregulated bloggers on the internet.
At the heart of the new threat to Press freedom is Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. This measure, which has yet to be implemented, is a form of coercion that aims, by using the threat of crippling financial penalties, to force newspapers into accepting what has been described as ‘State direction’. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... cking.html
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