Key Leveson quotes

Thu, Nov 29, 2012, 00:00

Below are some key quotes from Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s statement and report:

Press behaviour:

A free press in a democracy holds power to account but with a few honourable exceptions, the UK press has not performed that vital role.

There have been too many times when, chasing the story, parts of the press have acted as if its own code, which it wrote, simply did not exist. This has caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained.

Based on all the evidence that I have heard, I have no doubt that, to a greater or lesser extent with a wider range of titles, there has been a recklessness in prioritising sensational stories, almost irrespective of the harm that the stories may cause and the rights of those who would be affected (perhaps in a way that can never be remedied) all the while heedless of the public interest.

This is not just the famous, but ordinary members of the public, caught up in events (many of them truly tragic) far larger than they could cope with but made much, much worse by press behaviour that, at times, can only be described as outrageous.


Almost everyone accepts that the Press Complaints Commission has failed in the task, if indeed it ever saw itself as having such a task, of keeping the press to its responsibilities to the public generally, and to the individuals unfairly damaged. There must be change.

What is needed is a genuinely independent and effective system of self-regulation

Putting a policeman in every news room is no sort of answer.

Despite what will be said about these recommendations by those who oppose them, this is not, and cannot be characterised as, statutory regulation of the press.

The ball moves back into the politicians' court: they must now decide who guards the guardians.

David Cameron and News International:

Mr Cameron went to great lengths to secure meetings face-to-face with Mr Murdoch and other News International executives and editors.

The evidence does not, of course, establish anything resembling a ‘deal’ whereby News International’s support was traded for the expectation of policy favours.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I have some serious concerns and misgivings about this recommendation,

We should, I believe, be wary of any legislation which has the potential to infringe free speech and a free press. In this House, which has been a bulwark of democracy for centuries, we should think very, very carefully before crossing this line.

For the first time we would have crossed the Rubicon, writing elements of press regulation into the law of the land.


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