miss_s_b: (Fanigrling: Rumpole)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The Facts:
  • The press have behaved atrociously.

  • The behaviour is not all journalists, but is systemic across all the papers, although it's worse at the tabloids than the broadsheets.

  • The police have been reluctant to arrest journalists, even when they quite blatantly break the law.

  • Politicians have been reluctant to offend the press for fear of losing elections.

  • There are lots of laws which could have been applied to most of the situations people have a problem with - both in terms of the stuff that was printed and the corrupt relationships between politicians, police and media - nobody enforced them.

  • The press are losing influence and sales because of the rise of the internet and any system of press regulation which may or may not be put into place right now will be out of date within months.

  • This is making them panic and they think that if they can't keep on perving over the 14 year old daughters of celebrities and lying about people who can't afford to sue them they will lose more money faster - IMHO this is probably true. Far more people are interested in pap shots of 14 year old with budding tits than they are in the minutiae of political corruption scandals.

  • Nobody* thinks that political control of the media is desirable.

  • Nobody* wants the libel laws beefed up because they already encourage libel tourism and the promotion of The Golden Rule**

  • Equally, nobody* thinks that continuing on as before is acceptable and we're all agreed that Something Must Be Done - but all of the proposed solutions have downsides, either giving too much power to politicians or not curbing the ridiculous excesses of the press and nobody is happy with any of them.
You can see why I referred to this as a Gordian knot in the title, amirite? But unlike the previous post, I do actually have a proposed solution. A nice simple solution. A solution that doesn't involve any new statutes***, and doesn't involve letting the press off the hook.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Possibly it is. I'm sure if there are holes to be picked, you lot will manage it... My proposed solution is this:

Add press complaints to the raft of things which legal aid is available for. At the core of this, it's an access to justice issue. The press will happily defame people who can't afford to sue, and given that probably we're in a triple dip recession, and that legal aid has been cut drastically and repeatedly of late, this is only going to get worse. However, although the entire legal aid budget is set by politicians, they have no say over what it gets spent on. If we're worried about FatCatLawyersGettingRichOffOurTaxes we can always fund charities like CAB to make initial assessments - CAB are VERY good at the legal stuff, when they aren't starved of funds - and it wouldn't involve any corrupt appointments.

If the police refuse to prosecute papers who break the law, let us bring private prosecutions.
If the PCC can't or won't adjudicate on something, or their adjudication is ignored by the papers, let us take them to court.

Let the courts impose fines.
Let the journos and newspaper owners who ignore the law of the land and the rulings of the courts be sent to prison (and frankly I won't lose any sleep if Frazer Nelson is first in the queue).

Of course, the reason nobody is going to go for this is that Leveson is a huge political football which all parties are enjoying kicking around, whilst opining that all they are bothered about is THUHVICTIMS or THUHFREEDUMOFTHEPRESS and I genuinely believe that police, politicans AND press would all be happiest papering over the cracks and carrying on as normal with their corrupt and cosy relationships.

The question is, are they going to get away with that? Again?****

* Nobody with any sense, that is.
** (S)he who has the gold makes the rules
*** possibly a couple of statutory instruments, maybe...
**** sadly I think the answer to that is probably "yes", because of the golden rule detailed above.
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About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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