Saturday, 1 December 2012

Whitehall, the Guardian newspaper and Lord Leveson – darkness at noon

On 25 April 2012 the Cabinet Office issued what we might take to be a sample L Notice, a rebuke of the press issued under the Leveson Rules:
Digital public services: putting the citizen in charge, not the state

25 April 2012

On its front page on 24 April, the Guardian ran an article on government data sharing plans which misrepresented statements the Government has made concerning existing data sharing arrangements.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude today made a statement in response, pointing to the Government’s commitment to putting the citizen in charge, not the state ...
It would be extraordinary if the Guardian newspaper, of all newspapers, were to be the victim – and the first victim at that – of the movement for probity and compassion in the press which marches with Lord Leveson at its head.

Extraordinary because the Guardian, after all, is a centre of excellence in world journalism, with its measured and impeccably high-minded comments always supported by the responsible and dispassionate reports on world events with which its journalists fill the pages of the newspaper.

If even they, even the Guardian, can misreport Cabinet Office policy so culpably as to be issued with an L Notice, then veritably we have seen darkness at noon.

The important word there is "if". Can it be true? Did the Guardian fall from grace? Or is it just possible that actually the newspaper reported the Cabinet Office's plans to "put the citizen in charge" correctly?

This matter calls for minute investigation ...

... an investigation which has been undertaken in the public interest and which has now been completed. As soon as we receive permission, our findings will be published.

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Added 12.12.12:
The minister and a warning to The Telegraph before expenses story
Maria Miller's advisers warned The Telegraph to consider the minister’s role in implementing the Leveson Report before this newspaper published details of her expenses ...

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