It’s a no from me too
And so the Leveson debacle reaches its latest stupid, authoritarian, and wasteful point; with the publication of the Royal Charter yesterday a coalition of sanctimonious celebrities and dimwits who think they’re going to get one over Rupert Murdoch have handed the British government a power it has coveted for 300 years; control of the press.
Indeed, already we’ve had Labour MP Jim Sheridan threatening that journalists be barred from Parliament (Sheridan had a £699.99 expences claim for a plasma screen TV exposed by the Telegraph in 2009 – he’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky hacks!) and a spokesperson from The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which usually polices elections to ensure against human rights abuses, saying
“A government-established regulatory body, regardless of how independent it is
intended to be, could pose a threat to media freedom
I still believe that self-regulation is the best way to deal with ethical lapses and failures to comply with professional standards.
The phone-hacking scandal was a criminal issue and the people involved are being prosecuted. This should not be used as an excuse to rein in all print media”
The irony is that this attempt to regulate the press comes at a time when the press is becoming less and less regulatable all the time. Rarely nowadays do we get our news from a paper dropped on our doorstep. Instead we skip blogs, Twitter, and websites from around the world. Try regulating that. Indeed, the very term ‘the press’ is obsolete.
But that’s not to say they won’t try. A reading of the Royal Charter (Schedule 4, 1, b) explains that the “relevant publishers” who will be ‘incentivised‘ to sign up to the regulatory framework by the threat of vast fines and “exemplary damages” will include
“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)“
So you humble narrator finds himself and his little corner of the internet a subject of government regulation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; no one who supports this measure can call themselves a liberal.
The Spectator isn’t signing up and neither is Guido Fawkes. If Andrew Neil is to be believed several newspaper editors are also considering telling Leveson to get stuffed. Your humble narrator will be doing likewise. I don’t kid myself it will mean much in the scheme of things, unlike Eurowoof, a gay dating website dedicated to the ‘bear-like’ man, this blog is not the talk of Westminster, Fleet Street, nor even my flat. But at least I’ll be content in the knowledge that I didn’t dignify this load of illiberal rubbish.