Press regulation. JFK warned us in 1961.

Published on Monday 18 March 2013 22:37
A DEAL has been agreed by the three main parties at Westminster which is set to introduce the strictest rules on press regulation ever seen in the United Kingdom.
Under the plans, agreed in a last-minute deal between the Tories, Liberal Democrats, Labour and campaigners, a new independent watchdog with the power to impose fines of up to £1 million for newspapers which break the rules will be set up under Royal Charter.
It was unclear last night whether the new system will apply in Scotland. The Scottish Government said it needed time to look at the proposals – which came four days after Lord McCluskey published his recommendations for regulation north of the Border – and will not report back on plans for Scotland until after Easter. UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller will be sent to meet an all-party group in Scotland to discuss the implications.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg all took credit for the agreement. Mr Cameron said the three of them had agreed with “tough independent self-regulation that will deliver for victims and meet the principles set out in [Leveson’s] report”.
The deal followed a bitter dispute over how to implement Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals, whose inquiry was sparked by revelations of large-scale phone-hacking by some tabloid journalists. Those whose phones were hacked included the parents of Madeleine McCann and of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
The deal won the approval of the Hacked Off campaign, which is seeking greater curbs on the press. It said it believed the new system would produce a “genuinely independent” regulator to offer redress for press abuses.
But a war of words erupted over whether the deal amounted to a new press law or not. Labour argued that the proposal would be underpinned by statute and therefore constituted a law, but the Tories said the legislative changes simply prevented politicians easily meddling with the Royal Charter.
There were fears the deal could be the first step in the erosion of free speech, despite assurances that the agreement guaranteed the freedom of the press.
One leading critic, former Tory cabinet minister Peter Lilley, urged newspapers not to sign up to what he branded “a ministry of truth” that could use its fines to “prohibit” the publication of news stories.
The response of the industry – whose members are expected to sign up to agree to a new regulatory code – will be vital to how the issue progresses. .
Adrian Jeakings, president of the Newspaper Society and chief executive of publisher Archant, said: “The deal announced by the three main political parties completely ignores the Leveson recommendations on the local press.
“The Royal Charter proposals agreed by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour – with huge financial penalties for newspapers which choose to be outside the system and an arbitration service which would open the floodgates to compensation claimants – would place a crippling burden on the UK’s 1,100 local newspapers, inhibiting freedom of speech and the freedom to publish.
“Local newspapers remain fiercely opposed to any form of statutory involvement or underpinning in the regulation of the press. A free press cannot be free if it is dependent on and accountable to a regulatory body recognised by the state.”

Gordon writes –

I think we need to take heed of JFK’s warnings.

“President and the Press” Speech (April 27, 1961)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Last 4 paragraphs.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country
can succeed—and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian
law-maker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from
controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First
Amendment—the only business in America specifically protected by the
Constitution—not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize
the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what
it wants”—but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers
and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to
lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

This means greater coverage and analysis of international news—for it
is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It
means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well
as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at
all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest
possible information outside the narrowest limits of national
security—and we intend to do it.

It was early in the Seventeenth Century that Francis Bacon remarked on
three recent inventions already transforming the world: the compass,
gunpowder and the printing press. Now the links between the nations
first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world,
the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all.
In that one world’s efforts to live together, the evolution of
gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible
consequences of failure.

And so it is to the printing press—to the recorder of man’s deeds, the
keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news—that we look for
strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be
what he was born to be: free and independent.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

2 Responses to “Press regulation. JFK warned us in 1961.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    But the Murdock news already censor
    what goes into the news, if its not pro wars, and it wont expose child abusers like saville, as they have to be protected, and of course no criticism allowed of the palestinian genocide, so we already have censorship

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bloggers aren’t covered, supposedly:

    Bloggers, tweeters and social networking sites will not be subject to the new press regulator, Downing Street have insisted.

    Number 10 sources have moved to clarify the remit of the body, after the Prime Minister’s political spokeswoman earlier told reporters the Guido Fawkes’ blog would not be covered because it “is more gossip than news-related”.

    The source said national newspapers and their online editions would be included, along with local newspapers and “online-only ‘press-like’ content providers” such as Huffington Post.

    But Downing Street said bloggers, news aggregators, social networking sites like Twitter, hobby and trade titles, journals and not for profit community newspapers, including student papers, would not be covered.

    This is not what is implied by the Schedule of Interpretation.

    Remember the draft version?

    The final version of the Royal Charter has the same definitions.



    Key definitions

    1. For the purposes of this Charter:

    a) “Regulator” means an independent body formed by or on behalf of relevant publishers for the purpose of conducting regulatory activities in relation to their publications;

    b) “relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:
    i. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or
    ii. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);

    c) “broadcaster” means:
    i. the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Act 1990 or 1996;
    ii. the British Broadcasting Corporation; or
    iii. Sianel Pedwar Cymru;

    d) a person “publishes in the United Kingdom” if the publication takes place in the United Kingdom or is targeted primarily at an audience in the United Kingdom;

    e) “news-related material” means:
    i. news or information about current affairs;
    ii. opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs; or
    iii. gossip about celebrities, other public figures or other persons in the news.

    We should always be wary when the LibLabCon agrees on something and all sides of it claim victory. The charter implies that blogs will be covered, Number 10 spokeswoman says they won’t be. Even if they were it’s unworkable and easily circumvented, and they probably know this. The whole thing may be challengeable anyway.

    And let’s remember the role of Common Purpose in respect of Hacked Off, which was present throughout the weekend negotiations:

    Lest we not forget, your audience is global, Tap!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.