Finally the day British journalists have anxiously been waiting for – the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry.
On Thursday Lord Justice of Appeal Brain Leveson will present his report stating his recommendations for press regulation in the UK.
A scary day awaits as our limits of reporting and newsgathering may be even more curbed than they are now.
This Inquiry started in the height of the phone-hacking scandal in July 2011 at News Corp. It followed the close partnership with the government, police and journalists and the deals that were made between each of these bodies to gain information.
However what many people, especially those who live outside of the UK, don’t know is that our press receives no protection like the First Amendment offers to the press in the states. Therefore whatever we print or broadcast is more regulated and scrutinized.
The press is there to question, to evaluate and to educate- if regulations were to be made this would not be the case.
Lord Leveson’s recommendations to regulate the press worry me. I fear that we will be watched too closely, will be too isolated and will not have the credibility we cling on to at the moment.
“He said he wants a body independent of the establishment and the press, which will provide redress, particularly to those who cannot afford expensive legal action, and a mechanism of swift resolution for privacy and libel cases,” reports Sky News.
I am well aware that phone-hacking and obtaining information illegally is not the right way to get stories however if regulation is enforced to a higher standard British journalists will be unable to do their jobs to their full ability.
I feel that any step towards making strict laws for the press will take away our freedom, one which we have upheld for more than 300 years, and the ability to hold the government to account, which is one of the main reasons why we exist.
Replacing the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is a recipe for disaster as the new independent regulatory body will have larger powers, more restrictions and a bigger crush on our press.
The PCC states 16 ethical codes of practice for journalists which covers the wide spectrum of the industry from accuracy in names to news involving children. If more rules and regulations were to be enforced our journalists would be holding back on information our country needs to know.
The outcome of Thursday will determine the boundaries and restrictions the British press will possibly face.
The possible outcomes are: A regulatory body more enforcing than the PCC, full statutory regulation, a new privacy law, a newspaper industry ombudsman, a ‘prior notification’ law and an arbitration service outside of the court system.
Click here to watch a BBC video on How the Leveson inquiry might impact on the British media?