Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

I listened to Mr Justice Leveson's presentation today with great interest.

The press has been on manouvers for the past few weeks, raising the spectre that if the wrong sort of decisions were taken in response to the disgraceful behaviour of some sections of the media as brought out in the evidence to the Leveson inquiry, the ability of the press to perform its' essential function as part of a free society might be compromised.

Leveson said an awful lot of the right things, recognising both the valuable job done by most of the press and the damaging, extreme irresponsibility which other parts of the media have failed to play the role society needs them to play.

His proposals would include giving the government a statutory duty to protect the freedom of the press, and that is certainly a good idea.

He said that he does not want press regulation by the government. This is undoubtedly the right aspiration. But if may not be easy to acheive in a system set up by statute.

His proposals are very detailed and it is a massive and important report. I hope people will not be too quick to rush to judgement on whether the proposals should all be accepted and, if so, how they should be implemented.

That Leveson himself is aware of one of the issues surrounding, this

 - namely that if you use the law to set up a press regulator you must build in safeguards to ensure that those who make the laws cannot use that power to manipulate the press regulator to protect themselves -

was shown by the last words of his speech, a reference to the ancient saying:

Who shall guard the guardians?


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