Sunday, 2 December 2012

Leveson and regulation of the press

A simple fact - newspapers are already subject to statutory legislation and regulation in the UK.

Take for example the newspapers main line of defence, when publishing articles - that it was in the public interest to do so.

And consider Section 4 of the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881

4. Inquiry by court of summary jurisdiction as to libel being for public benefit or being true.

A court of summary jurisdiction, upon the hearing of a charge against a proprietor, publisher, or editor, or any person responsible for the publication of a newspaper, for a libel published therein, may receive evidence as to the publication being for the public benefit, and as to the matters charged in the libel being true, and as to the report being fair and accurate, and published without malice, and as to any matter which under this or any other Act, or otherwise, might be given in evidence by way of defence by the person charged on his trial on indictment, and the court, if of opinion after hearing such evidence that there is a strong or probable presumption that the jury on the trial would acquit the person charged, may dismiss the case.

So if we already have a piece of legislation that projects press freedom, then surely there can't be any objection to further legislation that underpins self-regulation and protects press freedom.

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