At 1.30pm GMT today the Leveson report was made public. It appears that his verdict is that rules and regulations must be tightened up. Leveson has called for the current Press Complaints Commission to be scrapped. In its place he would like to see a new Independent body established and overseen by Ofcom.
Ofcom is reportedly an "Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries". it seems to make sense then that they are involved and would surely offer a compromise. It is important that we retain as free a press as possible but that individuals are protected.
The Leveson inquiry heard evidence from many who had suffered at the hands of a poorly regulated press. One was the Mother of murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler. The mother was given false hope that her daughter was alive following some in the media accessing her cell phone.The wrongdoing by certain members of the press ranged from intruding on the privacy of celebrities to paying police for information. There are many heads that need to roll.
David Cameron is all for maintaining the freedom of the press whilst his deputy Nick Clegg wants more regulation. There is talk of incentives to persuade those in the reporting business to voluntarily accept any changes. Yesterday the Spectator bosses said that they would not abide by any attempts to limit the freedom of the press.
The new body if it comes into force will have the power to levy £1ml fines against those found to have overstepped the mark.
Such is the disagreement between Cameron and Clegg that they will both deliver individual responses to the report in the House today. So will Labour leader Ed Miliband. The hope is now that the problems will be resolved and a working compromise agreed.
The Hacked Off campaign group, in an initial statement,said, "These proposals are reasonable and proportionate and we call on all parties to get together to implement them as soon as possible. The press must be given a deadline, the inquiry is over, now is the time for action"
You could not watch people like the parents of missing Maddie McCann and Millie Dowler and not be affected. We need to be careful about a knee jerk response though even after all this time. Some bad apples must not be allowed to spoil the whole barrel.
The Press is not as easy to define as it once was. There are online publications, both small like TEK and established such as The Times, there are social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and then there are websites where people are paid to be citizen journalists. Some are run in the UK but most are not. How on earth can all of this be "policed"
The UK Tories benefitted from a close rleationship with sections of the British media, some would say. That is probably true of all political parties at some time or another. That could be part of the reason why Cameron is reluctant to change things a great deal. The current system could be useful to some.