Presentation on theme: "REGULATION: THEORETICAL IDEAS THE LEVESON ENQUIRY."— Presentation transcript:
REGULATION: THEORETICAL IDEAS THE LEVESON ENQUIRY
WHAT IS THE LEVESON ENQUIRY? The Leveson enquiry is a judicial public enquiry into the CULTURE, PRACTICES & ETHICS of the British Press. Attention was brought to this matter following News Internationals phone hacking scandal. Lord Justice Leveson was appointed by David Cameron in July 2011 to chair (head) the year and a half investigation. There were a series of public hearings throughout 2011/12, which included victims who felt that their privacy had been violated. In November 2012 Lord Leveson published his findings & gave recommendations for action.
HOW IT CAME ABOUT In 2005/2006, following a range of earlier investigations since 2002, Clive Goodman (NOTW Royal Editor) & Glenn Mulcaire (Private Investigator) were convicted of illegal interception of phone messages. The NOTW stated it was an isolated incident, despite questions raised about their editor Andy Coulson. However conflicting reports began to emerge from journalists (The Guardian 2009) that this was not the case, and in fact the majority of tabloid newspapers were guilty of regularly hacking into public mobile phones to gain a story. Slowly more and more story's began to emerge from a range of celebrity's ( Sienna Miller, Hugh Grant for example) coming forward with complaints of an invasion of privacy. In July 2011, it was revealed that News of the World reporters had hacked the voicemail of murder victim Milly Dowler, resulting in mass public out cry. On July 13 th 2011, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced that a public inquiry under the ‘Inquiries Act 2005’ (allowing the summoning of witnesses) would be chaired by Lord Justice Leveson.
THE ENQUIRY On 20 July 2011, Cameron announced the final terms of reference of Leveson's inquiry, stating that it will extend beyond newspapers to include broadcasters and social media. He announced a panel of six people who have been working with the judge on the inquiry: Sir David Bell, former chairman of the Financial Times - Shami Chakrabarti director of Liberty - Lord Currie, former Ofcom director Elinor Goodman former political editor of Channel 4 News - George Jones, former political editor of the Daily Telegraph - Sir Paul Scott-Lee QPM former Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. The Inquiry was funded through two Government departments: ‘Department for Culture, Media and Sport’ & the ‘Home Office’. In September 2011 a press release named 46 politicians, sportsmen and public figures who may have been victims of media intrusion and who have been granted "core participant" status in the inquiry. The enquiry took place at the Royal Courts of Justice, was streamed live over the Internet, & started on November 14 th 2011. There were three sessions: 1.Module One: ‘Press & Public’. Around 600 witnesses/statements were used. Testimony's made by Sally Dowler (the mother of Milly Dowler), the actors Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan, Gerry McCann (the father of the missing Madeleine McCann), Chris Jefferies (who had been wrongly arrested for murder in 2011). 2.Module Two: ‘Press & Police’. Example testimony's made by Brian Paddick, Lord Prescott, and Lord Blair. 3.Module Three: ‘Press & Politicians’. Example testimony's from a variety of senior politicians, including four Prime Ministers, along with press figures such as James & Rupert Murdoch, and Rebekah Brooks. “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?” – Lord Justice Leveson.
THE REPORT The 2,000 page Leveson Report was published on the 29 th November 2012. It set out to make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press (freedom of speech) and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards are met. Lord Justice Leveson’s findings/recommendations: The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is not sufficient and should be replaced. There needs to be a new independent body to replace the PCC, which would be recognised by the state through new laws. This body would have a range of sanctions available to it, including fines and the direction of apologies and corrections. Membership of the body would be voluntary. Claims such as libel and breach of privacy would be speedy and cheap, and have the power to award exemplary damages However, Leveson rejected the characterisation of his proposal as "statutory regulation of the press“, and instead seeked what he called “statutory underpinning”, the most controversial part of his report. “To give effect to the incentives that I have outlined it is essential that there should be legislation to underpin the independent self-regulatory system and facilitate its recognition in legal processes,” - Lord Leveson. Such legislation would enshrine a legal duty in the government to protect the freedom of the press. Secondly it would reassure the public regular independent checks on the new regulatory body and its effectiveness, which he suggests should be done by Ofcom. And finally, it would validate the new body’s standards code. Leveson emphasises in his report that this is not a recommendation of statutory regulation.
THE FUTURE 24 hours after he received the report, The Prime Minister David Cameron said he had "serious concerns and misgivings" in principle to any statutory interference in the media. He warned: "It would mean for the first time we have crossed the Rubicon of writing elements of press regulation into law.“ The following day the majority of newspapers agreed with Cameron's position, while The Guardian declared that "great care" would be required for legislation. Victims group ‘Hacked Off’ (Chaired by Hugh Grant) called for full implementation of Leveson's recommendations, and started a petition (145,000). A new incentive had to be struck between the three main political parties, which was in the form of an independent regulator set up by royal charter with powers to impose fines on UK publishers and demand apologies. The charter would aim to preserve press freedom and protect victims of press intrusion. Many of the major newspapers said they needed time to study the details and Victims campaign group Hacked Off welcomed the deal. David Cameron stated that the Royal charter would ensure: Upfront apologies from the press to victims Fines of 1% of turnover for publishers, up to £1m A self-regulatory body with independent appointments and funding A robust standards code A free arbitration service for victims A speedy complaints system Talks regarding implementation between politicians and the press were scheduled to start in December 2012, and Lord Hunt, the current chair of the PCC, said the new regulator should be set up by summer 2013.