Leveson Enquiry and the regulation of newspapers
A letter posted to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on 13 June 2013
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
100 Parliament Street
19 June 2013
Dear Secretary of State,
Who has the last word on press regulation, the government, parliament and people together, or the press?
I understand that the editor of the Financial Times and some other editors – perhaps all the editors – would like Lord Grade appointed as a mediator between them and – in effect – the parliament and people. If they get their way and the government agrees to a second set of negotiations - which will inevitably water down the Leveson recommendations yet more - it will be seen as a defeat for the Prime Minister even before any negotiations begin.
To quote Hacked Off, "We have an agreement signed up to by all political parties and both houses of parliament, backed by the victims of press abuse and the vast majority of the general public. What are the grounds for reopening negotiations, simply because, as Leveson predicted, the press barons are reluctant to comply?"
I have been moved to write to you by the account in the Guardian of Wednesday 29 May of the suicide of Lucy Meadows, a transsexual, who killed herself after being ridiculed and humiliated by the Daily Mail newspaper, which was strongly reprimanded for its behaviour by the coroner, Michael Singleton. I read that she was not a celebrity, she had done nothing wrong – her only crime was to be different, “by some trick of nature”.
If this is typical of the tabloids, it seems to me that they have learned nothing from the Leveson Enquiry and are rapidly returning to their customary pernicious behaviour. If the government backs away as previous governments have done, it will leave a stain on its record, and the Enquiry will have been pointless. Hasn't a reasonable compromise already been reached?