Saturday 1 December 2012

Introduction – Whitehall, the Guardian newspaper and Lord Leveson

It is our intention in this report of our findings on the affaire Guardian to follow the example of the Guardian themselves. Now rehabilitated after their contretemps with the Leveson Rules, following some months of intensive re-education, they say of Lord Leveson's report that:
The press should treat it with respect – and not a little humility.
There speaks the voice of a truly free press. We humbly and respectfully agree.

That is the principle but what about the practice? What does it mean to report with respectful humility? How do you do it?

By way of response, the Guardian have just this to say:
The press urgently needs to find a substantial figure above the immediate fray who can approach Leveson's proposals with something like an objective eye and who can make convincing responses on merit. Nothing else, at this late hour, will command respect from the party leaders, who have embarked on a cross-party endeavour to avoid a damaging clash between politics and press.
And there is nothing more to say.

They're right.

Aristotle would agree (see Nicomachean Ethics).

We shall abide by the high standards of journalism enshrined in the Leveson Rules most definitively exemplified by today's greatest political philosopher in his colossal contributions to Twitter:


Updated 10.4.14
Senior David Cameron aide 'threatened' Daily Telegraph over Maria Miller expenses

Tony Gallagher, the former editor of The Daily Telegraph, has said that David Cameron’s director of communications “threatened” the newspaper over Maria Miller’s expenses claims.

Mr Gallagher said that Craig Oliver, one of Mr Cameron’s most senior aides, phoned him to say that Mrs Miller was “looking at Leveson” after The Telegraph made inquiries about the Culture Secretary’s expenses.

Mrs Miller is the Cabinet minister responsible for the future of press regulation and the response to the Leveson inquiry into press standards ...

“Maria Miller's special adviser rang one of the reporters concerned - Holly Watt - and said to her that Maria has obviously been having quite a lot of meetings around Leveson, I'm just going to flag up that connection for you to think about and you may wish to talk to people higher up your organisation.

“The special adviser in question, Joanna Hindley, rang a senior executive at the Telegraph to make precisely that point. I then got a third call from [David Cameron's director of communication] Craig Oliver pointing out that she's looking at Leveson and implying the call was badly timed...

“When you get phone calls from a special adviser flagging up a connection to Leveson and saying you should take this up with people higher up the organisation, it can hardly be construed as anything other than a threat.”

He added: “Bear in mind this story came to light just after the Leveson inquiry was published, and bear in mind the menacing way the minister, her special advisor and Downing Street reacted to that story, and threatened me, the newspaper and the reporter in question.

"It's actually a clear example of why MPs and politicians in general should have no locus over a free press. Ironically you would know nothing about this story were it not for a free press."

Mr Oliver said Mr Gallagher’s comments were “utterly false” ...

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