There are always some people with something to hide, be it from friends, family or in the case of (so called) celebrities and politicians pretty much everyone. That doesn’t excuse attempts to get information about them illegally using the so called public interest get out clause if it’s in the manner of snide gossip rather than criminal activity. But it doesn’t excuse them attempting to rewrite the law to prevent legal scrutiny of their affairs, after all, the laws are already there it just requires the police to actually act upon them.
Mail. (usual caveats)
Free speech campaigners yesterday condemned a House of Lords amendment to introduce statutory regulation of the Press as an ‘unacceptable’ attempt to ‘hold the Government to ransom’.
Earlier in the week, an alliance of Labour, Lib Dem and rebel Tory peers passed the proposal to introduce an arbitration service for members of the public who have been wronged by the Press.
The amendment to the Defamation Bill raised the possibility that some of the most controversial aspects of Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the Press would become law by the back door.
Prime Minister David Cameron opposes statutory regulation of newspapers.
But Index on Censorship has condemned the amendment, proposed by Labour peer Lord Puttnam, the film producer.
The group, which has been campaigning to defend freedom of speech for 40 years, warned the proposal threatens the ‘vital’ Defamation Bill.
Now like a lot of people suspect, I believe that any tinkering with our limited freedom of speech has an ulterior motive, with politicians it’s probably expenses and the occasional sex scandal, though I can’t help wondering if the recent Huhne case might have been unearthed had the law been stricter.
Celebrities and politicians live off the back of publicity, they have to put up with the press scrutinising their lives in a manner which the general public as a rule do not. Such however is the price of fame and occasionally notoriety and frankly attempts to prevent the press reporting the bad along with the good make my hackles rise.
There are already laws in place to deal with libel and slander, we do not need more regulation, just better enforcement. After all, if you look at the current Savile case and the ongoing islamic grooming cases, there are ways for the general public to be kept in the dark for years if permanently.
If you lie down with lions, you have to take the occasional risk that you’ll get gored if you do something stupid. Trying to remove the teeth and claws of the lions makes them something else entirely…