The Daily Shift’s Eimear Shannon reports on the news that the Leveson Report has called for new media regulation…
The Leveson Report has today demanded the establishment of an independent, self regulatory body to monitor the standards of the British media.
The report, which follows a lengthy public inquiry, was to set-up investigation into the practices of the media, and it’s means of obtaining information. The inquiry was established in November 2011, following public outcry over the hacking of mobile phones by the media, in particular, during the case of Milly Dowler. Lord Justice Leveson states that the inquiry was “sparked by public revulsion about a single action-the hacking of the mobile phone of a murdered teenager.”
The statement also commented that the press has, in their chasing of the story, “wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained.” The Judge also stated that the press has ignored their own code in favour of getting the story, and that this has caused hardship to those involved in the story.
“This is not just the famous but ordinary members of the public, caught up in events (many of them, truly tragic) far larger than they could cope with but made much, much worse by press behaviour that, at times, can only be described as outrageous.”
Lord Justice Leveson also concluded that, over the last 30 to 35 years, the relationship between politicians and the media has become too close, and that this is not in the public interest. This, he said, was partly a “matter of going too far in trying to control the supply of news and information to the public in return for the hope of favourable treatment by sections of the press…”.
The proposed regulatory body would, according to the report, put a legal duty on the British Government, to protect the freedom of the press. However, the report also states that it is not, a statutory regulation of the press. Rather, the judge expects media outlets to sign up to the new body voluntarily and are offered incentives to do so.
The Judge also stated that it would be in the best interest of the public for the press to take a stance on self-regulation.
“I do not think that either the victims or the public would accept the outcome if the industry did not grasp this opportunity.”
The inquiry, which lasted over nine months, heard statements from over 600 individuals and groups. Those who appeared in court included celebrities such as Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, as well as the parents of Madeline McCann.