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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Labour were afraid of the media says Mandelson

I have just found this Comment is Free article by Peter Mandelson from yesterday in which he says that Labour were cowed from refroming the media because they were too fearful to do otherwise.

He says that it has taken the News International crisis for politicians to discover their courage:

Now they have to ensure that it is not primarily they who are protected from the "feral beast", but the public. This requires not statutory regulation but a robust, independent process to enable individuals to make right the falsehoods that slip through, or slander that sometimes gets pumped out by news rooms in the name of "press freedom".

There is now consensus that the vehicle for self-regulation, the Press Complaints Commission, is not fit for purpose. I would qualify this view by suggesting that, for example in cases involving allegations of harassment and protecting children, the PCC does a good job. Its present top team is a marked improvement on predecessors. But when it comes to respecting the privacy of public figures and individual members of the public, the system of self-regulation has been used largely to protect the self-interest of the PCC's most powerful members.

He puts forward five ideas to reform the Press Complaints Commission but in my view, has missed the public mood. None of these changes provide the teeth that a reformed Commission needs. By all means opt for self-regulation rather than government-led action but if we are to have confidence in such a body then it needs to be seen to be taking decisive action and it must have the ability to come down hard on transgressors.
oh, bollocks, bollocks and more bollocks.

They were thick as thieves, using Murdoch when it suited them. The press, the police, the BBC hacks (who never mentioned anything they knew at the time) and the political class are in this up to their necks. If anyone has the balls to follow the trail, it could be massive indeed but I fear NI will be the whipping boy just as four MPs paid the price for a damn sight more often doing a lot worse.
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