Freedom of the press

Yesterday was good day for press barons and vested interests. Bad day for Dowlers & McCanns. Proud day for David Cameron. — Hugh Grant

It would seem David Cameron’s address is no longer Number 10 Downing Street: it’s now Flat 2, Rupert Murdoch’s arse. — Stephen Fry

“If it’s not bonkers I’ll do it” – David Cameron. It wasn’t and he didn’t. — Hugh Grant

Clearly the public want it, there’s been a judicial review and I think the recommendations should be implemented. There’s no good reason why they shouldn’t be. — Gerry McCann

With a group of (non celeb) victims including Hillsborough families listening to PM. Buzzword is betrayal. — Hugh Grant

Mr. Cameron said that he would implement sensible recommendations: it is time for him to honour that commitment and join the other political leaders by supporting the Leveson recommendations in their entirety. — J K Rowling

This is not about press freedom. The UK press, has been owned by a few rich individuals who pursue a highly ideological agenda. — Jemima Khan

If state regulation of press undermines UK work on international freedom of speech, how does UK arms sales to Saudi advance the cause? — Mark Thomas

We all want freedom of the press, well ok not all, maybe not Vladimir Putin who has a problem with free speech and Pussy Riot, but in general we all want a free press.

We want a press that is free of government shackles, free to hold the powerful to account, to shine a light into dark corners and expose dirty deals, to carry out investigative reporting that shows neither fear nor favour.

We occasionally get that and it is what the press trots out if there is ever a hint that their excesses may be curbed.

But it is not what we get. We get endless drivel about moronic TV programmes, the lives of boring celebrities, we have the press poking their unwanted noses into the lives of other people whether rich and famous or ordinary folk, poking their noses in and ruining people’s lives.

The myth of a free press is just that, a myth. We do not have a free press. How can a press be free when it is owned by people like Murdoch who use it to further their own agenda?

Noam Chomsky has long argued we do not have a free press. We have a press that is part of and controlled by corporate big business. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.

A press can never be free when it is owned by corporate Big Business. A press can never be free when it is dependent on advertising from vested interests.

An example of the corporate owned and controlled press in overdrive was the reporting of Occupy camped outside St Paul’s last year. It bore no resemblance to what was taking place, it was pure fantasy laced with malice.

What masquerades as a free press is propaganda intertwined with prurient drivel.

It is not only the national press that is bad, so too is the local press.

Is it news when a local paper regurgitates a press release from a developer as news? Is it news when a local paper without question reports what they are told by a local council?

We have a race to the bottom as media outlets try to retain their dwindling circulation.

Anyone who does not appreciate just how bad is our press, look at the press in Europe.

It has been proposed that an independent body be formed to regulate the press. The press say they are happy with this, though if you look closer, you will find they have little choice, and different elements of the press have a different view of what an independent regulator should look like and do.

What they are not happy with is that the independent regulator is enshrined in law. Why? They can only not be happy, if they have no intention of complying. Having conceded the need for an independent regulator, all that statute does is ensures it has teeth.

David Cameron said he would accept the findings of Lord Justice Levenson unless they were bonkers. He has now reneged on that promise. Why, could it be that as was shown during the inquiry he is still in the pocket of Murdoch?

When push comes to shove, David Cameron always shows his true colours, on the side of his paymasters.

It is a bit rich coming from Cameron that he is in favour of freedom. This is the man who only last week wanted to restrict the right to file a Judicial Review to right wrongs.

Lord Levenson did not though address a few obvious issues.

We have a corrupt press that was not prosecuted by corrupt police because they were in the pay of the press, and corrupt politicians who failed to deal with either the press or the police because they were in the pocket of of the press.

Ed Miliband has for once talked sense. We must carry out in full the recommendations from Lord Justice Leveson, if not, we will back here again in a decade.

Please sign the petition calling for implementation of Levenson in full (and that includes limiting the amount of media control of any one individual or corporation). Please pass on.

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5 Responses to “Freedom of the press”

  1. keithpp Says:

    It is amazing how many moronic trolls have crawled out from under their stones to attack the Leveson proposals.

  2. Tom Says:

    The constitutional position of ‘the press’ is that it is free from specific control by the executive. It chooses to shackle itself to big business, and the regular indepentent enquiries and royal commisions helpfully remind us of the consequences. We too are free to read or not, or even to start up our own free alternative.

    I don’t trust politicians to maintain that freedom, so in principle I would resist giving them more levers. I believe that better enforcement of tougher privacy laws, along with a more accessible form of legal redress is the way to go. Unfotunately, Leveson has narrowed and polarised the debate.

  3. keithpp Says:

    The press does not choose to shackle itself to big business, it is owned and controlled by big business, both directly and indirectly through advertising. Noam Chomsky has analysed this in great detail. Read Necessary illusions and Manufacturing Consent.

    We need a diversity of press, which currently we do not have.

    If we go back to the beginnings of a free press, the printing press, the pamphleteers, then yes, we had diversity.

    Entry costs now is very high, other than handing out a few flyers, and even that costs money.

    The net is giving voice to diversity, the prevailing views challenged. This blog, is but one example.

    I do not trust politicians either, especially within local government where there is no scrutiny, where they tend to be in the pocket of developers, at national level, in the pocket of big businesses, and at all levels out to feather their own nest and get their snouts well and truly stuck in a trough.

    Which is why we need a free press, not as we have a corporate owned and controlled mainstream media.

    And yes if morons did not buy the Sun, watch Sky, Murdoch would go out of business. But then they eat in McDonald’s, drink coffee in Costa and Starbucks.

    These businesses only survive because people are stupid enough to let them abuse them.

    Sadly we can do little about stupidity.

  4. keithpp Says:

    Last Thursday, Lord Justice Leveson published his report into “the culture, practices and ethics of the media”. He didn’t, for the record, call for a system of statutory regulation. He recommended an “independent” self-regulatory body underpinned by statute. It should be free of “any influence from industry and government”, he wrote, adding: “It should be governed by an independent board. The chair and the members of the board must be appointed in a genuinely open, transparent and independent way.”

    He has not called for a system that would do Vladimir Putin proud.

    We do not have a free press when it is controlled by people like Murdoch who use it to further there own political aims.

    Some form of regulation such as that proposed by Lord Justice Leveson, will help decent journalists who wish to do a good job.

  5. keithpp Says:

    The Murdoch Mafia is pulling all the strings it can. Already it has puppet David Cameron jumping to the Mafia tune.

    The Leveson Report gives us a once in a lifetime chance to reform the press and remove the corrosive corrupting influence of Murdoch from British public life.

    We want the Leveson report implemented in full, and that includes a 20% cap on media ownership to cut media empires down to size so that no one owner or editor can grow too powerful.

    We want media plurality and an equally tough regime to enforce it.

    This is not a gag on free speech, it is a curb on media barons and their bullying of politicians to act against public interests.

    We stopped Murdoch seizing control of BSkyB and we must stop him again.

    Please sign the petion and stop the Murdoch Mafia.

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