Even though the vast majority of the country couldn’t care less about the Leveson Inquiry, the media is full of it, probably because they are the subject of the inquiry.
Politicians are bending over backwards to avoid any suggestion that they are trying to interfere with the press, but we all know that they pander to the journalists and editors in fear of bad ‘reviews’.
Ages ago I wrote about changing the system, which they are apparently not going to do, merely using different words to justify the very expensive investigation, in which I stated something that I thought was pretty damned obvious. I fully support the freedom of the press; I fully support free speech. We were all brought up to believe we had such a principle and that made us believe they were telling the truth.
We equated ‘free’ with ‘truth’. Oh boy were we wrong. Then they made them self-regulating. Good idea… not. Since when did we let the criminals judge the criminals?
I believe in the right to privacy above the right to free speech. This does not just apply to the world of celebrity/politicians. My father, many many years ago when I was a boy, had a full interview printed in a newspaper. He had never been interviewed at all. So many times I have read of ‘so and so’ being accused of something long before it ever gets to a court. Whoever that may be is tarred with a bad reputation because he has been found guilty before being PROVED to be guilty.
So, dear politicians, to me the law has always been wrong. If someone breaks into our properties we can have them arrested. Why can’t we do that with interfering nosey parkers who break into our private lives, uninvited, without our permission, when we have committed no criminal act.
I would take that one stage further and even prevent publication until the person is PROVED guilty.
Years ago a woman in the audience asked the great American comedian Jackie Mason whether he thought the (her words) ‘womaniser Bill Clinton should be allowed to run for President’. As we have had so many people’s reputations ruined because of similar reportage, Jackie’s answer has lived with me for a long time.
“Imagine that you have root canal problems. Your face is throbbing; the pain is the worst you have ever experienced. Every dentist is fully booked for months ahead. You are suffering and there seems to be no end to the pain. Suddenly you get a phone call. One dentist has had a cancellation. Immediately you jump into a taxi and get to the surgery in record time. The receptionist shows you through and a nurse puts you into the chair. The dentist approaches you with the needle that will take all the pain away. Do you say ‘Stop! Are you having an affair?’ The question should not be ‘Are you having an affair?’ The question is, Can he do the job?” Brilliant.
I could not care less if a politician, a footballer, or anyone else for that matter is having an affair. It’s their business, not ours. I have heard all the goodie goodie moral arguments and they don’t mean a thing. To be honest it’s boring AND it is their PRIVATE life.
So, I think the law should be changed to only allowing ANY form of media to write about anyone who has not committed a crime, provided that journalist/editor has the permission of the subject to print the article/photograph.
Should this law be broken then the newspaper/radio/TV/internet would be banned from publishing for three months and the owners not be allowed to create another newspaper/radio/TV/internet prog, in that time.
Self regulation does not work. These people have proved time and again that they think they are above the law and that they don’t CARE about anyone else’s feelings. All they care about is making money.