Leveson Inquiry: a few thoughts from the jag pr office

The Leveson Inquiry was set up to address particular excesses of a small number of individual journalists and the behaviour of certain proprietors and editors who are already under investigation.  Few disagree that the published Report must provide the key to prevent this situation arising again.

In our experience as PR practitioners, we know here at jag press & publicity that the journalists we work with day in day out do their research conscientiously and with integrity.  It is our job to provide them with clear, accurate and truthful information providing the basis of trustworthy reports and articles in their publications.

We support the need for our press, with its bedrock of committed, honest journalists, to continue operating with its centuries-old freedom from the rule of parliament.  Freedom of speech, and of the press, is a British treasure and the envy of many countries where their media is controlled and can only publish the views of the state.

Following the publication of Lord Leveson’s Report, the press, the political parties and other interest groups have voiced differing opinions which must now be reconciled to arrive at an agreed course of action without delay.

We agree that the press itself should be responsible for setting up a new self-regulatory body independent of government control to ensure the continued freedom of the press.  It is to be hoped that their plans are well advanced.  Disagreement centres on the law drafted by Lord Leveson, which he says is to guarantee the independence and freedom of the press, but contains a clause that states interference with the press would be justified if there were a ‘legitimate purpose’ in a democracy – a phrase very open to interpretation by an administration in the future perhaps not so favourable to the press.  We do find this clause worrying.

We feel that any regulation of the press body must be designed in such a way that it remains independent and effective but lacks the potential ever to infringe free speech and the freedom of the press.

They now have a historic opportunity to contribute to the resolution of this dilemma.

The press need to look inward to ensure all staff are using best practices and that a handful of those who aren’t don’t bring down the reputations of the vast majority of fantastic journalists who work hard to deliver stories in the public interest.

We are sure this won’t be the last of the debate – if anything it is probably just the beginning!

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