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The truly awful behaviour of (some parts of) "the media" was one of the big discussion-topics at last Thursday's Newstead Wood Question Time. Clearly, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has failed again and again to protect innocent people (Millie Dowler's parents, Liverpool FC fans at the Hillsborough tragedy, Hugh Grant, Lord McAlpine, et al.). On the other hand, where were the investigative journalists who ought to have been digging up & dishing the dirt on Jimmy Savile? Tom Copley (Greater London Assembly Member) – Labour's representative on the panel – said the tabloid press would have published stuff much earlier if only this country's libel laws were softer. That's a very weak line of argument, I think. Anyway, at the end of a year's Inquiry, Lord Leveson is recommending that the PCC be replaced by a new independent self-regulating body (not dominated by editors and publishers), underpinned by law. This seems to me to be the best way forward. Why not?
But the learnèd Lord seems rather blasé about the threat to Truth & Beauty posed by "citizen journalists" tweeting whatever they want to. Double standards?
Do you want to see Lord Leveson's recommendations implemented in full? Notably the one calling for the establishment of an independent self-regulating body underpinned by law. Then, please sign the petition on the website of the Hacked Off group (originally created to support victims of the Press) at:
Already, within the first 24 hours after publication of the Leveson Inquiry report, more than 12,000 people have signed this petition.
Please ask your MP to put a stop to the press barons' campaign to subvert the will of parliament by ignoring the Leveson-compliant Royal Charter.
A message from Christopher Jefferies. Please ask your MP to stand up for the public, for Parliament and for the victims of press harassment. I am writing to ask for a moment of your time. That's all it will take to send a very important message to Parliament about the delay in protecting people against press abuses.
You may remember my case: I was grossly libelled by newspapers over the murder of Joanna Yeates in Bristol in 2010. Without a shred of evidence, large sections of the press more or less declared me a killer, even though someone else later confessed to the crime. I gave evidence about my experiences to the Leveson Inquiry and now I work with Hacked Off to try to ensure that others in future do not have to endure what I did. I was pleased in March when all parties in Parliament approved a Royal Charter for press self-regulation that would implement the careful and balanced recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry.
Now, scandalously, newspaper proprietors are trying to prevent that Royal Charter from coming into force. I hope you will agree with me that this small group of powerful men should not be allowed to block a Charter that is designed to protect innocent people against the actions of their companies.
Over the past few days, at Hacked Off's prompting, thousands of people have been writing to their MPs, asking them to take a stand for the public and for Parliament, and to do all they can to ensure that the Leveson Charter is approved at the earliest opportunity. It just takes a few clicks. Please do it now.
Please add your voice to theirs. We know that sending a clear signal of strong feeling to Westminster can make a real difference.
Thank you, Christopher Jefferies
To send a message to your MP, please click here
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