Updated: May 10, 2020
I keep getting emails from email lobbying organisation 38 Degrees asking me to support efforts, including an email petition, to implement the Leveson report “in full”. I’m not sure 38 Degrees knows what it is calling for. Implementing Leveson’s proposals “in full” would mean implementing the journalists’ register of contacts, something even those who strongly support other elements of Leveson – including statutory regulation, which I have severe reservations about – are opposing.
I’ve written to 38 Degrees asking them to stop claiming the support of all their “online community” for their stance on Leveson, and pointing out that full implementation means more than simply establishing a statutory regulator. I had one reply saying they were sorry I couldn’t support their stance but that everyone had different views. I’m not sure how accepting that everyone has different views squares with claiming everyone supports one view. And the answer did not convince me that they understood the detail of what they were calling for.
It’s rather ironic that many of those who, rightly, condemn the press for reducing all discussion to the starkest black and white, of creating heroes and villains without acknowledging shades of grey or nuance, seem to be making the same mistake. Either support Leveson “in full” or be an apologist for the worst excesses of the media. Rather like Ed Miliband, who called for the implementation of leveson “in full” before he could have had time to read it in full, there’s a lot of people jerking the knee. There’s some daft stuff being said by the self-appointed defenders of the free press too, but that’s no excuse for campaigning for something before you know what it is.
If anyone can put forward a convincing argument as to why Leveson should be implemented “in full” – and the definition of “in full” seems pretty clear to me – I’ll gladly concede the point. If no one can, it might be an idea to stop posing and pontificating in order to back something which has rather alarming implications – not least to the future of mass campaigning initiatives.