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Offsite Article: Leveson: a licence to police press freedom...

Link Here8th December 2012
Full story: Leveson Report...Proposal to appoint Ofcom as the UK's newspaper censor
The dangers inherent in Lord Justice Leveson's report do not end with the controversy over statutory underpinning for a new press regulator. By Mick Hume

See article from



Offsite Article: Leveson Goes Too Far...

Link Here30th November 2012
Full story: Leveson Report...Proposal to appoint Ofcom as the UK's newspaper censor
Kirsty Hughes outlines Index's issues with the press inquiry's recommendations. Lord Justice Leveson's report could determine the path of the press in Britain for years to come.

See article from



Offsite Article: The Leveson Report...

Link Here29th November 2012
Full story: Leveson Report...Proposal to appoint Ofcom as the UK's newspaper censor
An inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press

See article from



Update: The Bottom Line...

The PCC confirm that it will not be investigating Harry's bottom but the Danish public are taking a closer look at Kate's

Link Here29th September 2012

Kate Middleton's naked bum has hit the internet. Just a week after topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge were published. The Danish version of Se Og Hor Magazine has chosen to publish some new pictures, showing Kate without a top or bottom. On September 28, Showbiz Spy was just one outlet that chose to post the photos (without censorship) and now there aren't too many people in the world who haven't seen Kate's lady bits.

Meanwhile Prince Harry will not pursue a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) over the publication of photographs of him naked in Las Vegas, St James's Palace has said.

The Sun printed the photos, taken in a hotel room, despite warnings from the Royal Family's lawyers that it would be an invasion of his privacy.

The palace have now said:

It would not be prudent to pursue the matter further. Having considered the matter now for a number of weeks, we have decided not to pursue a complaint.

We remain of the opinion that a hotel room is a private space where its occupants would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Because the prince was focused entirely on his deployment in Afghanistan, pursuing a complaint relating to his private life would not be appropriate at this time and would prove to be a distraction.

Previously the PCC had said that it would not be appropriate to open an investigation into this matter in the absence of a formal complaint to the commission from Prince Harry .


8th March   

A Pressing Need for Change...

Press Complaints Commission to undergo a rapid reformation before Leveson makes his report
Link Here

The Press Complaints Commission is to close itself down in a fast-tracked programme that will kill off the name of the PCC, abandon its current structures and governance, and establish a new regulatory body that will be in place well before Lord Justice Leveson delivers his report on the press at the end of this year.

The accelerated close down was formally discussed at a full meeting of the commission chaired by Lord Hunt in London. Details of the formal close-down date and the potential names of the new body are expected to be revealed in six weeks when the full minutes of the meeting are approved and published shortly afterwards.

Earlier this week Hunt is understood to have told some of his close Westminster colleagues of the imminent demise of the PCC. Hunt discussed the urgent need to have a new authority in place and functioning well ahead of the first draft and any early recommendations from Lord Justice Leveson.

Simply stealing a march on anything Leveson might say was how one MP described the goodbye to the PCC.


1st March   

Update: A PCC PC Tangle...

PCC asked to adjudicate over a press article about discriminatory haredi/charedi jews saying that they are discriminatory
Link Here
Full story: Invisible Women in israel...Women removed from the media lest men get offended

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected claims that a Jewish Chronicle (JC) column by Professor Geoffrey Alderman breached accuracy and discrimination rules.

His article about the segregation of men and women, published on October 29 2011, included the claim that it is well known that Charedi men are notorious harassers of the opposite sex .

According to one complainant the reference could not be substantiated and was inaccurate. But the PCC found that because the column was written from Professor Alderman's perspective, it was clear to readers that the content reflected his views and experiences.

The PCC also cleared the JC over the claim that it was discriminatory to suggest that Charedim were notorious for committing such acts . Chris Paget, a complaints officer at the PCC said:

The article did not make a prejudicial or pejorative reference to the religion of a particular individual, but rather expressed the columnist's views on Charedi men in general.

To come to an inevitably subjective judgment as to whether such material is tasteless or offensive would amount to the Commission acting as a moral arbiter, which can lead to censorship.


10th February   

Update: Supremely Unethical...

Nutter group use half the truth to call on Leveson (of all people) to ban Page 3 girls
Link Here
Full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

Platform 51 is a women's group that was once the YWCA. They write:

Platform 51 poll reveals significant support for ban

A new poll, commissioned by women's charity, Platform 51, reveals that over two fifths of women in the UK would support a ban on the use of topless images in daily newspapers.

  • Almost double the proportion of women (42%) would support a move to ban topless models as oppose it (24%)
  • Amongst men and women, younger people aged 18-24 (41%) and Londoners (43%) would be most supportive of a ban

Commenting on these latest figures, Rebecca Gill, Platform 51's Director of Policy, Communications and Campaign, said:

Today's figures reveal that many more women are in favour of a ban on Page 3 than against it. Everyday we help girls and women across the country to build up their confidence and self-esteem and we see how they are affected by such photos, both in how they feel about themselves and how men see them.

These figures are particularly timely with Dominic Mohan being recalled in front of the Leveson inquiry on this issue. We hope that the inquiry will listen to women's views.

Surely readers have the right to know the full results of the poll including the views of men, older people, and those outside London. The results selected have obviously been cherry picked, and one assumes that the full results simply do not support Platform 51's views.

And then Rebecca Gill, CEO of Platform 51, cheekily uses these bollox half survey results to sort of call on Leveson to ban page 3. See article from by Rebecca Gill:

On Monday Dominic Mohan was recalled to the Leveson inquiry where he defended Page 3 as a British institution . Unfortunately he missed the all important word was'- it was a British institution - and not a particularly good one at that.

Platform 51 commissioned a nationally representative poll over the weekend which showed that almost twice as many women would support a ban on topless pictures of female models appearing in daily newspapers as would oppose it. In a country where many people feel uneasy with the word 'ban , these results are certainly striking.


These serious objections to Page 3 are perhaps well rehearsed. But what our polling shows is that many people, far from viewing institutions like Page 3 as harmless fun, in fact see Page 3 as an outdated institution which is, frankly, a bit embarrassing and needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

I wonder if Leveson appreciates the irony of being asked to make recommendations based on the very sort  of unethical bollox that he is supposed to be sorting out.


10th February   

The Old Guard Marched Off the Premises...

Director of the PCC stands down at the end of the month
Link Here

Stephen Abell, the Director of the Press Complaints Commission since the beginning of 2010, has announced that he will be leaving the PCC at the end of February. He is leaving to become a partner at Pagefield communications consultancy, where he will take responsibility for media relations and crisis communication.

Lord Hunt, Chair of the PCC, said:

When I joined the PCC last year, Stephen and I agreed that we would work together until we were in a position to propose a new structure for self-regulation of the press. I have valued his assistance in this, and his professionalism in leading the PCC's staff as they continued their important work during a difficult period. It is testament to him that the service to complainants, both those in the public eye and those without claim to celebrity, has improved and expanded over the last few years. I wish him success in all his future endeavours.

The PCC has appointed Michael McManus, who has wide experience in the worlds of journalism and politics, as Director of Transition. He will continue the work on ongoing proposals for reformed, independent self-regulation of the press. He will be part of a new senior team at the PCC, including Director of Communications Jonathan Collett and Charlotte Dewar, who has been promoted to Head of Complaints and Pre-Publication Services.

Stephen Abell said:

It has been a great privilege to work over the years with the committed, wonderful staff and board members of the PCC. I have been involved with the PCC for more than a decade, and I decided last year that it was time for a new challenge. First, I wanted to work with David Hunt in the development of positive proposals for a new structure of self-regulation. I believe we have now done that. I also wanted to give a full account of the work of the PCC to Lord Justice Leveson.

I remain a firm supporter of enhanced self-regulation for the press, maintaining all that is good about the work of the PCC, and am confident that this will be achieved as a result of the Leveson Inquiry.


7th February   

Updated: Envisaging a Compensation Culture...

David Hunt proposes a new press regulator with the ability to fine newspapers that break its rules
Link Here
Full story: Leveson Inquiry...Considering UK press censorship and regulation

David Hunt, the new chairman of the Press Complaints Commission has unveiled a blueprint for a totally new newspaper watchdog which he hopes will eradicate bad journalism and practices that have brought shame on the industry.

He told the Leveson inquiry that he was, however, flatly opposed to statutory regulation of newspapers, arguing that it would open a Pandora's box which would give the opportunity to unscrupulous politicians to try to curb the freedom of the press.

The new regulatory body proposed by Hunt would have real powers to investigate allegations such as phone hacking, illegal computer hacking or general press intrusion by reporters or paparazzi. It would also have the power to impose fines and award compensation to victims of the press, he said, with newspapers signing binding contracts to adhere to its rulings for five years at a time.

The new body would be far more robust than the PCC and be independent of influence by present editors, according to Hunt, with a three-pronged structure involving units providing a swift complaints resolution service, a standards arm and an arbitration operation which would assess damages.

Update: Mandatory registration of journalists

7th February 2012. See  article from

 Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail,proposed a fresh system of accrediting journalists. He told the Leveson Inquiry that the present system of press cards was haphazard .

Those guilty of the most serious misconduct could have their press cards removed, in the same way as doctors are struck off. But all newspapers and accredited freelance agencies would have to sign up for the scheme.

Dacre suggested that agencies using paparazzi should be encouraged to join a reinvigorated and strengthened Press Complaints Commission, and said the public should be consulted in an inquiry to determine the practical definition of legitimate public interest.

And he voiced his support for recommendations made last week by the PCC chairman Lord Hunt, who has suggested a separate unit working alongside the new regulatory body to uphold standards; contracts to lock newspapers into the new body; and an arbitration system to settle privacy and libel complaints rapidly and cheaply reducing predatory legal fees.

Dacre said he accepted that the present PCC should be bolstered by a separate regulatory body to deal with abuses of standards. Such a body could be run by a Press Ombudsman with powers to investigate editors and journalists and impose sanctions, including the removal of press accreditation.

...Read the full article


31st January   

Comment: Misery Objects...

Page 3 nutters have their day at the Leveson Inquiry
Link Here
Full story: Leveson Inquiry...Considering UK press censorship and regulation

A coalition of women's groups have argued that such highly sexualised images presented as part of their submission to the Leveson Inquiry were ubiquitous in the UK media, and called for press censorship to tackle relentless sexism in some areas of the press.

Four nutter groups, Eaves, End Violence Against Women, Object and Equality Now called on Leveson to back a ban on sexualised images in newspapers, arguing they would not be broadcast on television before the 9pm watershed.

The groups also accused some media outlets of perpetuating myths about rape, which they argued could prevent victims reporting the crime, and called for a tougher regulatory body.

Papers including the Sun, Daily Star and Sunday Sport persistently objectified women, portraying them as a sum of sexualised body parts , claimed Anna van Heeswijk, from Object, a lobby group against the objectification of women. We have to ask ourselves what kind of story does it tell young people when men in newspapers wear suits, or sports gear, are shown as active participants, and women are sexualised objects who are essentially naked or nearly naked, she said.

The groups are want legislation banning pictures of naked or semi-naked women in newspapers, arguing the images would not be allowed in the workplace because of equality legislation, and should not be sold in an unrestrained manner at children's eye-level . Leveson said his powers were limited and such a change would require rock-solid legislation .

The groups also called on Leveson to recommend the replacement of the Press Complaints Commission with an independent body with teeth that women and women's groups could complain to directly. The reporting of violence against women and girls needs to be more balanced and more context needs to be provided about its frequency, they added. Journalists should also receive training on the myths and realities about violence against women and girls, and there should be a code of practice for the way case studies are dealt with, the groups said.

Jacqui Hunt, of Equality Now, said the groups did not want to curtail press freedom ...BUT... wanted the media to behave more responsibly.

The ever censorial Harriet Hatemen claims to be a champion of press freedom

See  article from

Newspaper proprietors need urgently to agree a common new system of redress and regulation to put to the Leveson inquiry, according to Harriet Harman, the shadow culture and media secretary.

She said the new system should be independent, apply to all newspapers and be citizen-centric. [Maybe just a slip of the tongue, she probably meant women-centric]. Harman said:

I balk at the notion of press regulation. There should be redress for complaints. I don't think there should be prior restraint, or general ruling on ethics. I also certainly don't think we need a register of approved journalists. Doctors and journalists are not analogous.

Despite the personal battering she has taken from the rightwing media over pursuit of women's equality, she said she was not interested in settling old scores:

My discussions and arguments have been with the public as much as newspapers.

I am going to be a champion of press freedom.

Offsite: Killjoy Clare Short revives anti-page 3 rant

26th January 2012. See  article from by Clare Short

Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into the ethics of the press heard some impressive, if depressing, evidence this week from women's groups about the continued use of sexualised imagery in some newspapers and about a culture of relentless sexism in some sections of the press.

In response, he said that his terms of reference did not stretch to such issues. But surely the depiction of half the population in a way that is now illegal on workplace walls and before the watershed in broadcasting, is an issue of media ethics? Interestingly, the evidence put to the inquiry was censored before circulation to remove the images that are perfectly legal in millions of newspapers that spread across society.

The Leveson Inquiry should also take note of my experience to learn how the media can censor public debate. The deliberate bullying I endured was designed to stop me discussing an issue of public concern and to frighten other women off. This is not a question of phone hacking or intrusion of privacy, but in some ways it is worse.

Tabloid vilification helped kill off a debate that would have forced Page 3 images out of British newspapers and perhaps obliged the media to behave and report in a less sexist way. Twenty-six years on, Lord Leveson should seriously consider the case that has been made.

...Read the full article

Update: The misogyny of the anti-Page 3 brigade

31st January 2012.See  article from by Gabrielle Shiner

The prudes trying to strip the tabloids of topless pics belittle women far more than any male reader could.

With the Leveson Inquiry currently insisting that the press bares all, campaign groups such as Turn Your Back on Page 3 have spotted an opportunity to force the tabloid's topless ladies to cover themselves up. And all in the name of protecting girls like me from being terrorised by tits.

...Read the full article

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