Friday, January 06, 2017

The case against Section 40 in six words

TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT.

Four days left in the consultation on Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

The consultation closes at 5pm on Tuesday 10th January 2017.

I don't believe that all the people who want to bring section 40 into effect are evil: some of them simply thing that the present situation fails to provide  ordinary people, particularly those who cannot afford expensive legal representation, with an affordable right of redress if the press write something which isn't true about them.

Our newspapers do sometimes get it wrong and I think it would be a very good thing if IPSOS, the regulatory body which most of the press is signed up to, introduced a system of low-cost arbitration.

But section 40 is not the right way to get the press to do this because it will punish the innocent along with the guilty and penalise accurate press reports as well as false ones.

If you want to take action against bad journalists the way to do it is not to bankrupt or emasculate good ones. Which is what section 40 will do if it is activated.

You can take part in the government consultation at

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-leveson-inquiry-and-its-implementation

and if you want to live in a country with a free press that can challenge powerful interests, I strongly recommend that you do so, and ask the government not to implement Section 40.

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