Leveson Report on UK media
Justice Leveson’s recent report on media is the outcome of a public enquiry which lasted for eight months. Evidence was taken of 300 witnesses, including politicians, media figures and victims of press harassment. One of the findings in the report is that the media put sensationalism above public interest and that there was recklessness in prioritising sensational stories. A damning conclusion is that by its reckless behaviour, the media had wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent people for many decades. Justice Leveson observes in the report that “politicians of all parties had developed too close a relationship with the press in a way which has not been in the public interest and this had undermined public confidence”. The Report underscores that “the press has to be accountable to the public in whose interests it claims to be acting and must show respect for the rights of others. The answers to the question who guards the guardians, should not be no-one”. The report suggests the need is for a new regulatory body, which can provide quick and adequate redress to victims of media excesses and which should be truly independent of the newspaper industry and the government and should not include any serving editor or politician.
There have been divergent reactions to the report. The Labour Party favours legislation. On the other hand, Prime Minister David Cameron cautioned against any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and free press. One wonders about the
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