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Hacked off - a rather more complex set-up than one might suppose

#3
Non story: a lot of people (who it kindly lists) are on the fringes of Hacked Off, suggesting that a balanced and rigorous debate of varied opinions is likely.

So what's this article really saying? That Telegraph readers can't handle complexity. Ah, ok. I knew that.
 
#4
Right-wing media believes criticism of media a left-wing plot. Quel suprise.

With the exception of Margaret Thatcher's 1979 election win, is there anything the Telegraph doesn't believe a left-wing plot?
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#5
So, a newspaper attacking a group that is asking for more responsible journalism - I wonder if they will give equal coverage to Hacked Off in reply. Somehow I doubt it.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Non story: a lot of people (who it kindly lists) are on the fringes of Hacked Off, suggesting that a balanced and rigorous debate of varied opinions is likely.

So what's this article really saying? That Telegraph readers can't handle complexity. Ah, ok. I knew that.
So, in your view, if you're a Director of an organisation, you're only on its fringes?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
So, a newspaper attacking a group that is asking for more responsible journalism - I wonder if they will give equal coverage to Hacked Off in reply. Somehow I doubt it.
Except they weren't all asking for more responsible journalism, one senior figure is on record as saying:

Writing on the “New Left Project” website, Fenton attacked the “excessively liberalised press” and the “naive pluralism” of “assuming that the more news we have, the more democratic our societies are”.

That implies that someone should prescribe 'how much news we have' - which is essentially censorship, and the use of the phrase 'naive pluralism' suggests that a multiplicity of views is not a desired end-state. Personally I don't care what people read but I have issues with lobby groups looking to define what's acceptable and actively organising to promote this view. No doubt Victorian Major has his own reasons for describing the campaign director of Hacked Off as peripheral to the campaign but I am concerned when pluralism is described as naive and people with a clear agenda attempt to restrict it by law.



 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Right-wing media believes criticism of media a left-wing plot. Quel suprise.

With the exception of Margaret Thatcher's 1979 election win, is there anything the Telegraph doesn't believe a left-wing plot?
Or alternatively: "Right wing newspaper produces a referenced article containing some facts for discussion which Arrse's man in the East is content to dismiss in a fashion which he would call anyone else on if they attempted the same thing on him." :)
 
#10
Well, the way I read it was that 'naive pluralism' referred to the assumption that all we needed for democracy to flourish was lots and lots of newspapers accountable only to themselves for what they publish. I think the available evidence shows that's not the case.

For the record, I'm not in favour of restricting the press by fiat. I am, however, in favour of making individuals and their employers jointly accountable for the accuracy of what they publish - criminally liable where failure to be so materially harms the target. Since they've shown themselves so overwhelmingly to be incapable of separating bias from reportage and ego from accuracy, they need to be reminded from time to time what their responsibility is.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Well, the way I read it was that 'naive pluralism' referred to the assumption that all we needed for democracy to flourish was lots and lots of newspapers accountable only to themselves for what they publish. I think the available evidence shows that's not the case.

For the record, I'm not in favour of restricting the press by fiat. I am, however, in favour of making individuals and their employers jointly accountable for the accuracy of what they publish - criminally liable where failure to be so materially harms the target. Since they've shown themselves so overwhelmingly to be incapable of separating bias from reportage and ego from accuracy, they need to be reminded from time to time what their responsibility is.
But the criminal liability already exists and the issue with the hacking scandal was that the existing laws weren't applied because of the media handling strategy of the government of the day. Once Labour was out of the way, the investigations got a new lease of life, prosecutions started and are on-going, people have gone to prison, the latest only last week, and one of the offending newspapers has been closed down. Further, the whole issue was kept alive by the Guardian, a clear demonstration of the value of a pluralist media.

Any notion of 'public good' should emerge and evolve through free and pluralist discussion and not because someone somewhere has defined it to their personal satisfaction.
 
#12
But the criminal liability already exists and the issue with the hacking scandal was that the existing laws weren't applied because of the media handling strategy of the government of the day.
Has the criminal liability stopped our press abusing their powers at all? They did it before and during the phone hacking scandal in more ways than just that one. What we should be doing is ensuring that those who would hold a power are genuinely accountable for their use of it and that they are effectively punished for abusing it. That is after all the justification for a free press in the first place, that those in power need to be checked. Who does it for the press? Currently, themselves and they've proven damned laggardly at it.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Has the criminal liability stopped our press abusing their powers at all? They did it before and during the phone hacking scandal in more ways than just that one. What we should be doing is ensuring that those who would hold a power are genuinely accountable for their use of it and that they are effectively punished for abusing it. That is after all the justification for a free press in the first place, that those in power need to be checked. Who does it for the press? Currently, themselves and they've proven damned laggardly at it.
Despite the focus on Cameron and horses, I believe the witch hunt would be better directed towards Blair and god children. Ultimately any system is only as good as the will to enforce it and I don't believe that we control scum with vested interests by empowering other scum with vested interests. We need an explanation as to why existing laws were not applied before we start drafting new laws.
 
#15
Despite the focus on Cameron and horses, I believe the witch hunt would be better directed towards Blair and god children. Ultimately any system is only as good as the will to enforce it and I don't believe that we control scum with vested interests by empowering other scum with vested interests. We need an explanation as to why existing laws were not applied before we start drafting new laws.
Well said that Man!
 
#16
Agreed, right on the money. Ian Hislop said as much to Leveson - perfectly good laws already, that corrupt (literally corrupt) police officers were not enforcing.

Was it Andy Hayman who obtained all the evidence, kept it secret from anybody else to look at, and told a committee of MPs there was nothing in there of any concern to anybody? I believe his exact words were "I'll eat my hat if there are any other phone hacking victims".

A disgrace. The police almost completely escaped censure in the Leveson report.
 
#17
The freedom of the press is far too precious to be controlled by slimy parasitic politicians. This would be the beginning of the slippery slope with the rich and powerful deciding what should and should not be reported. We are already witnessing a varient of this with the 'Secret Justice bill' or 'Closed Materiel Proceedings', 'only for cases of National interest' until some spiv politician moves the goalposts ever so slightly, and then another spiv politician decides to move them a little bit more etc etc. Before you know it all cases will be heard in private. The press may have lost it a bit with their abuses, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Leveson strikes me as a fool in thrall to 'celebrities'. As someone has already said there are existing laws to deal with abuses by the press, what is the point of introducing more laws instead of enforcing the existing law?
 
#18
The freedom of the press is far too precious to be controlled by slimy parasitic politicians. This would be the beginning of the slippery slope with the rich and powerful deciding what should and should not be reported. We are already witnessing a varient of this with the 'Secret Justice bill' or 'Closed Materiel Proceedings', 'only for cases of National interest' until some spiv politician moves the goalposts ever so slightly, and then another spiv politician decides to move them a little bit more etc etc. Before you know it all cases will be heard in private. The press may have lost it a bit with their abuses, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Leveson strikes me as a fool in thrall to 'celebrities'. As someone has already said there are existing laws to deal with abuses by the press, what is the point of introducing more laws instead of enforcing the existing law?
The problem is enforcing civil law is very high risk and costs an absolute fortune. Only the rich can afford the protections currently guaranteed in law.

One of the things Leveson wanted was a free tribunal service that could handle complaints. The press themselves decide what rules this tribunal upholds. It would be sensible to design a code of practice that reflected the laws that can be enforced in court.

Having a totally voluntary tribunal service is rife with problems. The PPC was widely ridiculed and frequently ignored. It had no powers whatsoever. Accordingly in order for a new tribunal to be effective, it must have some method of coercion to ensure those subject to its rulings actually abide by them. The Royal Charter is an irrelevance - what really matters is this supposed statute for exemplary damages and costs orders. That is, if a publication does not accept the rulings of the tribunal, should the claimant bring a case before the Courts, the Courts may award exemplary damages to the claimant and the publication will have to pay the costs of both parties even if they win.

I am not sure that is sensible. What if the claimant appeals? Do the newspaper keep paying all the way up to the Supreme Court? Also what if the quality of the tribunal's judgments are dreadful? Who will make the judgments? On what basis? Fraught with danger.

The exemplary damages element I can see the sense in.
 
#19
The freedom of the press is far too precious to be controlled by slimy parasitic politicians. This would be the beginning of the slippery slope with the rich and powerful deciding what should and should not be reported.
Under our present system, we see the power of the press exercised with no effective restraint or counter whatsoever. It boils down to whether the individual victim can afford the expense and patience of a libel suit and I can't see how putting justice beyond the reach of ordinary people is at all a good idea.

As to "rich and powerful deciding what should and should not be reported", we already have that situation - they're called 'proprietors'. What we don't have is an effective means of countering them which doesn't simply rely on more of their ilk.
 
#20
Since they've shown themselves so overwhelmingly to be incapable of separating bias from reportage and ego from accuracy, they need to be reminded from time to time what their responsibility is.
I thought the main problem wasn't a lack of laws, but corrupt police and politicians turning a blind eye to rampant criminality in exchange for favourable press coverage. Rather than deal with that, the preferred establishment solution as ever is to pass more laws (which will again be enforced only selectively).
 

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