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Levenson?


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Whilst I'm fully supportive of investigative jounalism, exposing corruption etc in Gov and high office; I fail to see how who celebs are sleeping with or what messages are on a dead girl's phone, have any relationship to the "public interest". Supporters of the status quo, argue that "the law" is available to control media excesses; but apparently wern't their in the recent past and certainly not affordable to the majority of the public. :shock:

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I don't now if any of you saw Question Time last week or week before when someone asked if any evidence against Abu Qatada was gained by phone hacking...the question was quickly skirted round & no satisfactory answer given.I wonder if that has been the case ,could any censure imposed by Levison against the media on phone hacking ,be also used by Qatada's defence lawyers ?

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Doesn't this expose the real nature of Parliament? Arn't the majority of MPs in the pockets of lobby or pressure groups, rather than public opinion? They've all courted the press because it can severely damage people's reputations. What I find strange, is that the TV industry is regulated by OfCom,which doesn't appear to curtail some good quality investigative jounalism by progs like Panorama etc; but TV journalists tend not to enter the sewers for their stories, or indulge in gossip. :shock:

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I don't disagree with the general thrust of what most of you are saying, but dont forget Levenson stressed that most of the time, most of the press, perform well and perform a vital public service.

 

What he is proposing, however, is a bit like banning us all from driving because of the actions of a few

 

I haven't got very strong views on whether Levenson's proposals (which in the main are acceptable to everyone) go forward with or without a statutory backing. Doubt whether it will make much difference. I do wonder, however, how something which has a statutory backing can be completely independent of government, being as it is government that makes the law.

 

I expect the newspaper I read to be prepared to expose corruption in high places, even if it has to break the law to do so. I don't expect it to hack into little girl's phones, or expose the mindless capers of celebrities.

 

But what everyone seems to be forgetting, however, is that the newspapers which dig deepest in the gutter, invariably have the highest circulations, which means most people WANT the shameless tittle-tattle they print. Other industries win praise when they produce what their public wants - and also earn a lot of money.

 

It is only a pity that the shameless, low-brow mentality of the public means the press can't do this without being criticised.

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Think your opinion hit the rocks, when you said " even if it has to break the law to do so". But Levenson hasn't recommended a legal gag on press freedom; he has recommended that the press set up and pay for, an independent regulator (a referee in other words, independent of politicians and the press) to rule on cases of unethical practise AND that this system should be underpinned by law, thus the press can't ignore or flout it. The Broadcast media is already subject to legal regulation in order to retain their licence, so what's so special about the press? However, loop holes will still remain, in the form of the foreign media or the internet. The McAlpine case has flagged up how bloggers can spread rumour without evidential basis, and only if one is wealthy, can an individual have any chance of seeking redress through law. :blink:

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However, loop holes will still remain, in the form of the foreign media or the internet.

 

For information.

All telecoms companies and internet service providers will be required by law to keep a record of every customer's personal communications, showing who they are contacting, when, where and which websites they are visiting.

 

Despite widespread opposition over Britain's growing surveillance society, 653 public bodies will be given access to the confidential information, including police, local councils, the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service, fire authorities and even prison governors.

 

They will not require the permission of a judge or a magistrate to access the information, but simply the authorisation of a senior police officer or the equivalent of a deputy head of department at a local authority.

 

Ministers had originally wanted to store the information on a massive Government-run database, but chose not to because of privacy concerns.

 

However the Government announced yesterday it was pressing ahead with privately-held "Big Brother" databases which opposition leaders said amount to "state-spying" and a form of "covert surveillance" on the public.

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No Observer, I don't think my opinion hits the rocks at all! In fact that particular point is the most important of all. Governments make the law, so there could be circumstances where the only way a newspaper (or TV station) can expose a wrong doing would be to break the law and take the consequences.

I know it might not seem a very likely situation NOW but at some time in the future, a government of either the extreme left or the extreme right might well introduce repressive legislation that needs to be exposed. It happens elsewhere...why not here?

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With the growth of the internet, your point is well covered; and perhaps it would be rather naive to assume we're not being "watched" by our security services anyway. The idea that a "free" press act on behalf of the people, is somewhat naive; when we have wannabee PMs travelling half way round the world to get the blessing of a man who owned 40% of our press, in order to get elected; the press have their own corporate interest - profit, which has nothing to do with our freedom. At the end of the day, we, the tax-payer, have shelled out £7 million on this, the GOV asked for it; it would be surreal to ignore it. However, the tactic will probably be, to kick it into the long grass, until a fickle public forget it and move onto something else. :roll:

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I wouldn't rely on the internet, Obs. It's over-populated with ill-informed idiots and, in my opinion, it won't be free forever. It already does more harm than good. For example, the recent incident when the Newsnight programme got into trouble and the BBC boss got the chop not because of something the programme broadcast but because of what ill-informed people said on the internet afterwards.

 

Like so many people, you seem to be obsessed with what one elderly press baron does. His influence, and indeed the influence of the press generally, when it comes to elections, has been grossly over-estimated. The people that read most of his papers don't vote anyway. And he's a bloody old man and won't be around much longer anyway.

 

As to the profits the press makes, compared with other industries they are pretty small. In fact, a lot of the papers don't make a profit at all. But if they could, why shouldn't they? What other business is expected not to make a profit in the cause of freedom?

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Indeed, they are there to make a profit, which was the point I'm making, there not there as some kind of white knight protecting the freedom of ordinary folk. In fact quite the opposite, they (the tabloids) invade the privacy of ordinary folk (as well as celebs) just to sell salacious scandal to pathetic folk, who's lives are so devoid of anything, they have to feed on sewerage. With the print media in decline, more "news" will trasfer to the blogasphere, the good side is, it allows "the people" (not corporate interests) to carry the "freedom banner". The downside of course, we're still left with the risk of rumour and gossip, and opinion, rather than hard news. I've no OBsession with Murdoch, no more than I would have with Berlosconi, monopolising the media; the less monopoly the better, as monopoly means power, at least it's perceived that way by the politicians; who tend to want to please their backers and lobbyists rather than the electorate. :shock:

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You make the point yourself, Obs, but it is worth emphasising. "The people" cannot be trusted on the Internet. There are almost daily examples of incidents of slander, libel and innuendo which should not be allowed to see the light of day. The press barons may not be white knights defending freedom, but they are more likely to be effective than the uncontrolled idiots who now dominate the web and bring into disrepute.

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The reason the Broadcast media are regulated (via OfCom), is that they are required by their licence to be "impartial". Personally, I can't see how a requirement to be politically impartial can affect adversely any media organisation, including the press. After all, they supposed to giving us "news" NOT "opinion". The place for "opinion" is now adequately covered by the inter-net, which is inter-active and accessible to all. The problem of course arises where opinion (free speech), gives way to slander or libel, in which case laws of defamation should be applicable. The problem is, that such laws arn't accessible by the majority of folk, as their use is unaffordable. :shock:

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I always thought the media - press and broadcasting - were supposed to be giving us news AND opinion. The problem arises when it is not made clear which is NEWS and which is OPINION. Nearly all newspapers have sections clearly marked as OPINION but sometimes put a slant on articles which appear in the NEWS sections. Most people buy a paper which shares their own political views so probably don't even notice.

Journalists, while not so well versed in the law as lawyers, are given basic training in media law which enables them, for the most part, to avoid libel (yes, we know there are slip-ups occasionally). Much of it is little more than common sense anyway.

But Joe Soap, who is now unleashed on us all on the internet, does not have the benefit of even such basic training and, it would seem, is often devoid of common sense as well. Thus the internet has become the stalking ground of idiots, often concealing their identity, who say what they want about anyone and to hell with the consequences. You may think that a good thing, but I am afraid I don't. Not least, because it will eventually lead to free use of the internet being restricted.

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Any Newspaper that leans to one political direction or the other, is going to give you "opinion"; that's why I don't buy them. There has been some good investigational journalism by some, notably the Telegraph's exposure of the MP's expenses scandal; but sadly the red tops, wallow in the gutter, trying to expose lurid private details of celebs and others - not exactly news imo. As for the net: it was argueably instrumental in progressing the Arab Spring and assists anti-tyranny movements in non-democratic countries - thus providing your force for freedom of speech. The fact that some users tend to be bozzos, leaves them open to being sued; as I hope McAlpine will do. However, the problem with justice against libel and slander is, it's only available to those who can afford the legal costs. :unsure:

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