ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Guarding the Guardians

The Leveson Inquiry's recommendations on voluntary regulation of the British press are sensible.

R Raghavan writes:

The report of the Justice Leveson Inquiry on the functioning of the press in the United Kingdom (UK) was awaited with hostility and dread by Fleet Street. The fear was that Leveson would recommend a regulatory authority formalised by statute. These fears have been realised. The press has responded to Leveson just like any other beleaguered profession that has been called to account for long-held illegal practices. Hardly any among this group of free-thinking libertarians denounced the immorality of the methods used by them and their colleagues to pry into and disturb the private lives of innocent persons. Instead, the print media was flooded with prophecies about the imminent death of democracy. Whenever the issue was discussed in other media, owners of newspapers, freelancers, editors and journalists started from the premise that Leveson and those who supported him were evil, venal or, at the best, misguided bigots who must be prevented from doing incalculable damage by a single foolish action – regulation. It was as if the media, as a whole, had closed their ranks to make common cause against critics and complainants, forgetting that their primary mission is to understand and reflect public sentiment.

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