There are always some people with something to hide, be it from friends, family or in the case of (so called) celebrities and politicians pretty much everyone. That doesn’t excuse attempts to get information about them illegally using the so called public interest get out clause if it’s in the manner of snide gossip rather than criminal activity. But it doesn’t excuse them attempting to rewrite the law to prevent legal scrutiny of their affairs, after all, the laws are already there it just requires the police to actually act upon them.

Mail. (usual caveats)

Free speech campaigners yesterday condemned a House of Lords amendment to introduce statutory regulation of the Press as an ‘unacceptable’ attempt to ‘hold the Government to ransom’.
Earlier in the week, an alliance of Labour, Lib Dem and rebel Tory peers passed the proposal to introduce an arbitration service for members of the public who have been wronged by the Press.
The amendment to the Defamation Bill raised the possibility that some of the most controversial aspects of Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the Press would become law by the back door.
Prime Minister David Cameron opposes statutory regulation of newspapers.
But Index on Censorship has condemned the amendment, proposed by Labour peer Lord Puttnam, the film producer.
The group, which has been campaigning to defend freedom of speech for 40 years, warned the proposal threatens the ‘vital’ Defamation Bill.

Now like a lot of people suspect, I believe that any tinkering with our limited freedom of speech has an ulterior motive, with politicians it’s probably expenses and the occasional sex scandal, though I can’t help wondering if the recent Huhne case might have been unearthed had the law been stricter.

Celebrities and politicians live off the back of publicity, they have to put up with the press scrutinising their lives in a manner which the general public as a rule do not. Such however is the price of fame and occasionally notoriety and frankly attempts to prevent the press reporting the bad along with the good make my hackles rise.

There are already laws in place to deal with libel and slander, we do not need more regulation, just better enforcement. After all, if you look at the current Savile case and the ongoing islamic grooming cases, there are ways for the general public to be kept in the dark for years if permanently.

If you lie down with lions, you have to take the occasional risk that you’ll get gored if you do something stupid. Trying to remove the teeth and claws of the lions makes them something else entirely…

1 comment for “Regulation

  1. February 9, 2013 at 7:01 am

    “Trying to remove the teeth and claws of the lions makes them something else entirely…

    Puddy Cats?

    But more seriously we have entered the Ancien Régime phase of British parliamentary rule. MP’s long ago ceased to act or behave as if they were our representatives and although they retain a veneer of pretence when they are forced to, they behave as the elites of pre-revolutionary France.

    MP’s have their own system of taxation, being able to pretend that they are self-employed and obtaining the same benefits as an entrepreneur without the disadvantages of having to put up with continual hassle from HMRC. I bet the number of tax investigations of sitting MP’s are in the few-to-none category.

    Equally, despite their claims that MP’s are subject to the same laws as the rest of us and occasional sacrificial lambs like Chris Huhne, they certainly tailor laws to help themselves and their private sector consultancy clients. It may not be as blatant as cash-for-questions, but a few nice lucrative non-executive directorships after finishing as an MP is still cash in the bank.

    The sole purpose of press regulation is to avenge the pain of the expenses scandal and declaw the Tiger so that it can’t do the same again.

    I’m surprised they haven’t just extended parliamentary privilege to mean parliamentary immunity. It’s a well known path on the route to totalitarian rule, so I’d be surprised if we don’t end up there at some point.

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