Labour's Harriet Harman demands media regulation
Published: 28th Oct 2012 11:33:48
Self-regulation of the media has "failed" and politicians must act to ensure "business as usual" is not an option, Harriet Harman has said.
Labour's deputy leader told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show politicians of all parties should unite to change the law to ensure a "truly independent" body is established to look at complaints.
The Leveson Inquiry on press standards is deciding its recommendations.
Opponents of statutory regulation say it would undermine freedom of speech.
The Leveson Inquiry, led by Lord Justice Leveson, was set up after allegations of widespread wrongdoing by the press, including the hacking of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler's mobile phone.
It heard from politicians, celebrities, media figures, police and others over an eight-month period.
The inquiry is due to publish a report by the end of 2012 in which it will make recommendations on the future regulation of the press and conduct between the press, politicians and police.
Prime Minister David Cameron has committed himself to implementing these.
But, in recent weeks, campaigners for a statutory system of regulation, including the actor Hugh Grant, have voiced concern that this might not happen.
Speaking on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, Ms Harman said: "I don't think self-regulation of the media should be given another chance. It's absolutely clear Leveson has given a great many revelations...
"It's clear that business as usual has nothing to obtain. The status quo has failed. There's not a proper press complaints system that ensures, where the press gets it wrong, the individual can complain and that will be looked at."
We should be very, very, very reluctant to take on legislation”
She added: "Self-regulation is business as usual. That's what has failed."
But Ms Harman insisted press freedom had to be maintained within the new framework of regulation, with censorship avoided, saying: "We ought to be clear that there can be no prior restraint."
She said: "We don't want any obstruction on press freedom... I have always argued for press freedom.
"We may need a statute to underline a truly independent press freedom."
She added: "There's every possibility of getting a cross-party agreement. This should not be a political football... We don't want politicians settle scores against the press who have been bruising them... The status quo is not acceptable."
But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told Sky News: "I think it is really massively important to ensure we have freedom of press in this country."
He added: "I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said that for a free society to operate, then the 'river of a free press' had to 'flow without restriction'.
"I think, given that the press are looking towards finding ways, the end result of offering a good way that people who have a legitimate complaint can find recourse, then that is right.
"We should be very, very, very reluctant to take on legislation. It's a balance and my view is that we should always balance in favour of a free press."
Earlier this month Mr Cameron said he did not want "heavy-handed state intervention", adding: "We have got to have a free press."
And Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson said the "free, dynamic, irreverent and independent media that we have" was "one of the glories of this country".
The Leveson Inquiry was set up to examine the culture, practice and ethics of the press, with the first stage examining relationships the press has with public, politicians and police.
A second part of the inquiry, looking into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International and other newspaper media organisations, will not get under way until police investigations are concluded.
At 13:04:45 in EnglandPark wardens and government workers are being given powers to police dog-fouling in Jersey.
At 12:58:08 in ScotlandAn independent Scotland would consider introducing a minimum wage that would rise in line with the cost of living, the SNP has said.
At 12:56:41 in Northern IrelandThe Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) is reviewing its operations after staff shortages led to delays in its 999 response times at the weekend.
At 12:56:20 in ScotlandScottish Water has completed a £1.9m project to minimise the risk of flooding in the north west of Glasgow.
At 12:54:23 in SportTeam Wales captain Aled Sion Davies admits he was disappointed to have won only a Commonwealth Games silver in the F42/F44 discus final.
At 12:49:31 in EnglandTwo of the largest healthcare providers in Cornwall could merge under cost saving plans.
At 12:47:22 in EnglandThe death of a biker who crashed through glass on Ipswich waterfront has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
At 12:46:04 in ScotlandA weightlifter competing at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is due to appear in court charged with sexually assaulting a man.
At 12:45:45 in SportOldham have had to cancel a planned photocall - because they have no strip.
At 12:44:43 in EnglandA man has admitted stealing £300,000 from the armed forces veterans' charity Help for Heroes.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Labour's Harriet Harman demands media regulation [Online] (Updated 28th Oct 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1460521/Labours-Harriet-Harman-demands-media-regulation [Accessed 28th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Top Gear's Burma Special in which Jeremy Clarkson used a racial slur broke broadcasting rules, Ofcom has said.
Park wardens and government workers are being given powers to police dog-fouling in Jersey.
Team Wales captain Aled Sion Davies admits he was disappointed to have won only a Commonwealth Games silver in the F42/F44 discus final.
Most border crossings in Liberia have been closed and communities hit by an Ebola outbreak face quarantine to try to halt the spread of the virus.
Commonwealth Games backers are investigating how a poster declaring "Proud to support Team England" appeared at a bus shelter in Wales.