Two of the most prominent campaigners for wide-reaching reform of the British press, Hacked Off and Media Reform, respond to the long-awaited Leveson Inquiry report.
Today marked the end of a 16-month public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the UK press. It is only the beginning of a power struggle in response to Lord Justice Leveson's much-awaited report, that has begun with the Prime Minister's rejection of the call for a statutory body to regulate the press.
Read the full report here.
The executive summary is available here.
Below, two of the most prominent campaiging organisations for wide-reaching media reform in Britain give their responses and gear up for action.
Hacked Off - Campaign for a Free and Accountable Press
Since publishing their statement, Hacked Off have launched a petition calling on the leaders of the three main parties to implement the Leveson report recommendations in full. See the petition here.
Jacqui Hames, a former policewoman and Crimewatch presenter who was placed under surveillance by the News of the World in 2002, has delivered the following statement on behalf of victims of press abuse and the Hacked Off campaign.
We welcome this carefully prepared and thorough report.
The Judge has rightly condemned the outrageous conduct of the press in the recent years.
The crucial point is the importance he places on the complete independence of regulation from politicians and from the editors and proprietors, who run the wholly discredited Press Complaints Commission.
He has proposed a system of voluntary and independent self-regulation.
The proposals made by the industry do not come close to this ideal.
What is needed is a regulator which can properly and effectively protect the victims of press misconduct.He has recommended that this be backed by legislation to protect the public and the press.
These proposals are reasonable and proportionate and we call on all parties to get together to implement them as soon as possible.
The press must be given a deadline.
The Inquiry is over.
Now is the time for action.
The Media Reform Coalition
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.