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Are MPs the best people to judge?
THE Levison Report is 2,000 pages long and was composed over a nine-month period and apparently poses many of the questions highlighted by its six predecessors.
Our leader is either a fantastic speed reader or has no intention of being confused by the facts.
Either way it seems a vast waste of resources to set up such an extensive and far reaching study if it is to be yet another report on press behaviour destined for the long grass.
With their current track record, one wonders if politicians are the best people to judge on the moral standards of our press.
If we are being asked to trust them, a little more activity in putting their own house in order would not go amiss.
JA Whitmore, Springfield Road, York.
• THE Leveson Report has finally arrived: Four volumes after 18 months of listening to more than 370 witnesses – at a cost to the taxpayer of about £8 million.
What a waste of time and money. Much of what the press did that was so awful was illegal (i.e. phone hacking, bribing the police, stalking relatives of celebrities, hounding folk in their homes, making false and libelous accusations, etc) so there is no need for new legislation.
The laws were simply not enforced. The politicians were too close to the press. Too much power and influence was in the hands of too few newspaper owners, and the Press Complaints Council never worked as it should.
We need a free press to keep politicians in check, and to be able to carry out legitimate investigating journalism, and we will lose this if politicians can bring fines to bear, on misbehaving newspapers. The press cannot be trusted to police itself, so having a genuinely independent body to set up a press code is a good idea; but who are these independent folk to be?
David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.
• There is a real danger of the Leveson Report becoming a bandwagon to state censorship.
Just as we would not condemn all disc jockeys because of Jimmy Savile, so we should not punish all newspapers because of a minority of national dailies.
Newspapers that act illegally and print false stories can already be brought to account if existing laws and procedures are properly pursued.
Indeed they have. The News of the World is defunct. Huge compensation sums have been paid and individuals are facing court proceedings.
Statutory regulation of the press is not the way forward. A genuine free press is essential and there must never be any political control or threat of control either directly or indirectly.
Our party leaders might not be seen as likely contenders for despotism, but this might not always be the case. Remember in 1933, Adolph Hitler came to power through the ballot box. A future extremist of the right or left might abuse regulations to ensure that newspapers printed only what suited those in power.
This must never be allowed to become even a remote possibility.
Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York.
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