Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the ethics and culture of the UK press is generally sober and carefully considered, but it confuses matters by proposing giving a big role in press oversight to Ofcom, the UK telecoms and broadcast regulator.
“I am firmly of the view that the goal here is voluntary independent self-regulation,” writes the judge. His core proposal is for a new press oversight body established by the industry, with powers of arbitration in disputes.
In many ways, this fits with my column setting out a way in which a new arrangement with statutory underpinning could enhance the freedom of the press, while cracking down on Fleet Street’s abuses.
But he allocates an important oversight role to Ofcom; an independent regulator whose chairman is appointed by the government and that is ultimately accountable to parliament. That strikes me as badly misguided. Read more