Press regulation has been back in the headlines over the past week, with the case of The Daily Mail v. Ed Miliband and family. But we are finally getting closer to a decision.
Almost one year on from Lord Leveson’s report was published with recommendations on press regulation, we are still waiting for the final outcome.
This Wednesday the Privy Council will meet, and try to bring some more clarity to the issue. All the political parties, the newspapers, and the victims of phone hacking have now pretty much agreed to the creation of a new regulator that is established by Royal Charter rather than through direct legislation. But where they differ is over some crucial details.
The three major parties and the victims (represented by Hacked Off) have agreed to the new regulator being able to levy one million pound fines, and direct the publishing of prominent apologies, should a newspaper be found to have acted unfairly in publishing a story.
But a rival Royal Charter has been submitted by the owners of The Sun, The Mirror, The Times, The Mail, The Express and The Telegraph. They agree with million pound fines, but they want more former newspaper editors to serve on the panel, they want the panel to be able to “require” rather than “direct” the printing of apologies, and they want to make it harder for groups or organisations to complain to the panel.
This Wednesday the Privy Council is supposed to decide on which system to implement. Pray for wisdom for those on the panel, which includes cabinet members Maria Miller (Culture Secretary), Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury), Michael Moore (Scottish Secretary), Chris Grayling (Justice Secretary), Dominic Grieve (Attorney General) and Francis Maude. Pray that a decision is made quickly, rather than again being put off until further down the road. And pray that ultimately we have good press regulation, that leads to an investigative and a responsible press in this country.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly at One Rock International, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.