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Petition
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eccles Offline
custodes qui custodiet
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Post: #661
RE: Petition
At the end of last year the Leveson Report into phone hacking by newspapers was published. It was recommended that all newspapers would be forced by law to sign up to a regulator and could be fined up to £1million for every story breaking the law, privacy, fairness, harassment, or generally being disreputable. It was recommended that this regulator was entirely independent of newspapers. Ofcom had put itself forward for that role. If it had gone ahead Ofcom would have had massive powers of censorship and woebetide any newspaper that dared criticise it. We know they are incapable of seeing the flaws and conflict of interest in their processes. At times an appeal is heard by the person who made the original judgement. The result would have been a stronger and untouchable Ofcom.

The Leveson Report suggested something one step away from this - an independent Press Regulator, and Ofcom certifying that the regulator was OK every few years. Even this would have put too much power in Ofcoms hands. If would have been far too tempting for Ofcom to tell the Press Regulator that it would not get an OK unless its rules looked like Ofcoms, and its judgements looked like Ofcoms. The result could have killed off a lot of acceptable political debate. For example a year or so ago a TV documentary exposed a furniture shop encouraging people to take out extended warranties on sofas. They filmed 3 different salesmen in 3 different stores telling fairy stories about how good the cover was. The chain complained and Ofcom ruled that just because 3 different salesmen in 3 different stores employed the same tactics it did not mean they were widespread. That story cannot now be told in that form or the show repeated.

Imagine Panorama or Newsnight decided to expose poor decision making at Ofcom, or suggest political links between Ed Richards and the last Labour Government (or next one). Or David Currie, first chairman of Ofcom, made an Life Peer in 1996 by Tony Blair (he is a crossbencher, not Labour). Or Stephen Carter, Ofcom CEO 2003-2007, Downing Street Chief of Staff for 10 months, and made up to a Life Peer in 2008 before joining the Labour Government as Minister for Communications Technology and Broadcasting. (To be fair he resigned as Minister after 7 months, but is still listed as Labour). Ofcom might well be politically neutral, but there is a risk that it would be unfavourable to a press regulator that allowed a newspaper to launch what it might see as an unfair and sustained campaign against it.

An untouchable regulator would result in more clampdowns and there wouldnt be a thing anyone could do about it.

Since then the Government backed off and has suggested senior judges should approve the independent Press Regulator, not Ofcom.

So far as I am aware this is the first time since Ofcom was set up that any Government has backed off giving it more and more power.

Gone fishing
(This post was last modified: 12-01-2013 02:46 by eccles.)
12-01-2013 02:44
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gtheboy Offline
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Posts: 97
Joined: Feb 2013
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Post: #662
RE: Petition
(12-01-2013 02:44 )eccles Wrote:  [snip]
Hi mate,you seem a very educated man in your writings on this forum,but there still remains that illusive fact "Who will watch the watchman" and could anyone say if these arrogant people in Ofcom were replaced tomorrow,would we end up with anything better?
27-02-2013 00:11
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