I believe it is time to regulate the press (December 14 2012) I believe it is time to regulate the press (December 14 2012)

Will Hutton the 62 year old columnist for the Observer and former stockbroker and investment analyst has published an article in The Guardian titled ‘Why I, as a journalist and ex-editor, believe it is time to regulate the press’ claiming the Leveson report is a much-needed opportunity for newspapers to abandon the excesses of the past. Hutton states “Leveson’s report… is being portrayed across great swaths of the British print media as the greatest threat to freedom of speech in modern times. The abuses Leveson was set to up to rectify – industrial-scale phone-hacking and the emergence of News International as a de facto state within a state, along with the more widespread culture and ethics that produced them – are deemed to be yesterday’s problems. What is left is the prospect of state regulation of Britain’s proud free press. …To strengthen press freedoms, he may propose stronger public interest protections for newspapers that want to publish what the powerful try to muzzle. The case against is that the proposals are unworkable, slow and legalistic and address practices that are now supposedly defunct and which they would not have prevented. Above all, the charge runs, they represent state limitation of freedom of speech. Such criticisms are bunk, tired and born of special pleading. The whole exercise smacks of doctors, the Lloyds insurance market, trade union barons, the police and various other special interest groups over the years trying to protect self-regulation that had palpably failed. The brutal truth is that British newspapers have become far too careless about the boundaries between news and comment, too ready to use innuendo to prove a point, too fast to phone-hack/pay for information to stand up hunches that have little or no public interest defence but which serve the political and cultural interests of proprietors.”


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