REGULATING THE PRESS WILL ONLY STIFLE THE TRUTH – There are many in Government and in the public sector who would relish the idea that the press is regulated by a Royal Charter.
According to Lord Lester, an eminent QC who was responsible for the numerous reforms to Britain’s dilapidated and notorious libel laws, it has come out that any newspaper which refuses to sign up to the new Press Regulator and is subsequently charged with such an offense would fail due to violating article 10 of the European Convent on Human Rights; which protects the rights to freedom of expression.
For over 300 years Britain has retained a free press and any attempt to dilute or remove such would be tantamount to state controlled information. In other words, the public would be subjected to a North Korean style news system whereby only a Government approved version would be permitted publishing.
We cannot and we must not, for the sake of democracy and truth, allow this Government or any other to restrict the press.
As Lord Lester points out; there are already ample laws in place to punish members of the press for any wrong-doing and a regulated restriction by a Royal Charter would not only be illegal it would destroy the very fabric and fundamentals of a democratic system.
It is widely accepted by members of the press that what the News of the World (now disbanded) engaged in regarding phone hacking, was both illegal and immoral but we cannot allow any such an instance to force the gagging of the press and in the process allow others to control public information.
A self regulated system however would be a better alternative so that it does encourage professional standards and effective redress when the press over-steps the mark – such a system would also free up any costly and unnecessary litigation; something our judicial system would benefit from due to a reduction in court cases having to be heard.
Boris Johnson, the Lord Mayor of London, came out in defence of the press and told newspapers that they must, for the sake of freedom of the press, boycott the Government’s current plans to create a Royal Charter on Press regulations.
The real issue here appears to be embarrassment – that is the press has so often embarrassed public figures for their mistakes and wrong-doings and that such a move would allow them to effectively hide yet more skeletons in the cupboard without the public ever having knowledge of such.
The public needs to be aware of what is happening, especially in the realm of Government. If any Royal Charter were imposed then issues, such as MPs expenses being brought into question by the press would become a thing of the past.
We all make mistakes, certainly meebal.com has published questionable material but whenever we have been brought to book by those who it affected or by our readers, we have and will recant and provide a full apology if such material is proven to be inaccurate or indeed false.
The press is not immune from error and this must be accepted; but to stifle, gag, silence or indeed control the press is complete and utter folly for the press is and remains the very pillar of a democratic society – take that away and you have North Korea and anyone who finds such a regime agreeable is welcome to a one way ticket.
Meebal.com opposes any Royal Charter and will continue to do so for the sake of democracy and the people’s right to free information.