Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Section 40 Not The Complete Answer

Much furore over Section 40 which is the Governments plan to shackle the press after the Leveson enquiry highlighted years of prolonged harassment and gross invasions of privacy by the press.
The tippign point proved to be the actions of the tabloids over the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler whose phone they hacked and even deleted messages on the girls phone to make room for more messages to listen to from distraught friends and family.
That it gave the family and police hope that Milly was still alive and deleting her messages, when she was later found dead, and the News of The World and Sun newspaper were found responsible, the cry went up that something had to be done to stop the press from continuing to act in such an abhorrent way.  
At the time the press was self-regulating which was obviously not working so the Government have now come up with Section 40 which will see state regulation of newspapers.
Those newspapers who refuse to sign up to the regulator will be subject to face paying all the legal costs of all sides even in cases they win where they have been found not guilty of impinging on peoples privacy.
Malpractice by the press needs to be stopped but it is a fine balancing act between a press that is free to investigate and criticize and one that takes advantage of this freedom to harass and perform gross invasions of privacy.
I don't know the answer but self-regulation has not worked but the Government deciding what newspaper can and can't print is not a direction we want to be heading so maybe it should be a case of only certain newspapers, those with a record of illegal practises, being brought under state regulation with a threat of others to follow if they take the dark road travelled by the likes of the Murdoch Press who were by far the main cause of the need to act in the first place.

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