Leave it out Leveson

The conviction of Stuart Hall and the case of Rolf Harris illustrate the damage that Leveson has done to the free press

 

The British press, until the onset of the phone hacking scandal, was generally celebrated for being free, inquisitive and in the main decent. Yes, indeed, there were bad apples but it truly did its job well and in a perfectly accountable manner. Since Leveson, however, free reporting has been thrown out of the window and individuals facing exposure are using him as a protective smokescreen.

 

Sir Brian Leveson PC with his report into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press on 29th November 2012
Sir Brian Leveson PC with his report into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press on 29th November 2012

When Stuart Hall, convicted today of rape and indecent assault, was arrested his lawyers issued the following statement:

 

“Stuart Hall is innocent of these charges. He is unable to comment further at this stage. It is a matter of concern that in the week following publication of the Leveson Report there appears to have been systematic, measured leaks to the media which have given a misleading impression of what this case is about”.

 

Hall’s citation of Leveson scared the press off and they were unable to report that he had pleaded guilty on the 16th April. Similarly, Rolf Harris’s arrest was covered up for just the same reason.

 

The Press Complaints Commission from the era of Sir Christopher Meyer’s tenure as chairman most definitely has a lot to answer for as do the bleating “celebrities” Hugh Grant, Gerry and Kate McCann and Charlotte Church. The whole Hacked Off campaign is in our mind nothing other than a nuisance but, actually, now, it’s Leveson’s legacy itself that needs to be questioned.

  1. Leveson was not the reason why the press were unable to report his guilty pleas on 16th April. Rather reporting restrictions were put in place to avoid prejudicing a possible future trial on rape and three further indecent assault charges that Hall denied and which the CPS has now decided should lay on file which means the reporting restrictions are now lifted.

    • A fair point but he and Rolf Harris more particularly did cite Leveson in their cries of innocence. His guilty plea should have been reported just as it would have been for any ordinary individual. At least it is now all out in the open.

  2. I would agree with 99% of this but listing the McCanns as “bleating celebrities”? Surely not.They did not court publicity except in the hunt for their daughter.They are victims in all this,unlike the whining Grant,coogan et al .You might as well include the Dowlers using that logic apart from that,great article

      • You have me at an advantage as I have not had the highly dubious pleasure of reading their book.I still think there is a difference in that Coogan et al are particularly hypocritical in “biting the hand that feeds” in whining about the medium that promotes their “talent”,whereas the McCann didn’t choose their position.You do make a good point about the circus they joined

  3. Correct, Freddy. Leveson is not to blame for the scandalous and criminal behaviour of individuals who must be held to account by the proper authorities. The press should be free to report on that and they are.

    • He and Rolf Harris more particularly did cite Leveson in their cries of innocence. His guilty plea should have been reported just as it would have been for any ordinary individual.

  4. I am all for freedom of the press but with such freedom goes a manifestly high level of responsibility, which they have ignored woefully. The ‘solution’cobbled together by the politicians for a Royal Charter does seem workable in my opinion, albeit that I’d give the press one last chance and go with their proposals. However, if they then fail to act responsibly, I’d throw the book at them.

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