Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Does the politicians' pizza party threaten UK press freedom?

Press reaction to the legislation passed on Monday is growing. The deal thrashed out over takeaway pizza in the early hours of Monday at the offices of Ed Millband is coming in for increasing criticism, especially over the threat of exemplary damages for newspapers (even bloggers) who have not signed up for the new press regulation body. It is not yet clear whether this will apply to bloggers. There are suggestions that it won't apply to individual bloggers, especially if they don't make a profit. But what of cooperative blogs or blogs and websites, like Jancis Robinson's site, that employ or use a number of contributors?  

There is always a danger that legislation cobbled together and pushed through parliament will turn out to be bad law with unintended consequences.         

Some recent press comment: 

'Peter Preston: This pizza-box press regulation is a sticky mess

Leveson dreamed of a voluntary regime, not an expedient political compromise imposed at two o'clock in the morning.'

'Press regulation: newspapers bridle at 'historic' deal

Protests from industry as David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband agree to create powerful regulator in late-night talks

A shellshocked newspaper industry was struggling to come to terms with a sudden all-party agreement to create a powerful new press regulator designed to prevent a repeat of the phone-hacking scandal.

The independent regulator will have powers to impose fines and demand prominent corrections, and courts will be allowed to impose exemplary damages on newspapers that fail to join the body.'

'Thanks to Leveson the job of journalists has become that little bit harder

Foreign experience shows harsher press rules in the UK will play into the hands of the rich and powerful.

The position of bloggers – liable or exempt under the new act?
'It’s down to the House of Lords to save the bloggers

Sebastian Payne 22 March 2013 18:24
On Monday, Parliament will decide the future of blogging in this country. As the government’s press regulation proposals stand, blogs big and small would come under the new press regulator. This would make bloggers liable for significant compensation sums (aka exemplary damages), fees for joining the regulator as an ‘associated member’ (newspapers join as full members) as well as for increased legal costs.'

'We need reform and a free press. This will require both time and opennessGive a new regulation system a year to bed in before we act. A royal charter should seal the deal, not describe it


A Reddin said...

The press lobby in itself is very powerful. Is this a 'Ryanair' approach - "You will have to pay for toilet use and bring your own paper" ? Yes, it is scarey and potentially very restrictive, but. The phone hacking scandal was 100 steps too far. I really think 'the press' need to self define what is acceptable, and the lengths they allow themselves to go into the privacy of individuals up to and including the 'line' whereupon those individuals, companies etc can call into account the methods used to invade their privacy; especially if that invasion proves to be nothing more than glory hunting.

Jim Budd said...

Angela. I agree that the phone hacking and multiple invasions of privacy was far too far but there are already laws to deal with this and arrests have been made. My impression is that these proposals have not been properly thought through and could threaten legitimate press investigations etc.

Geoff Adams said...

If the House of Lords pass the right amendments, bloggers and smaller not-for-profit publishers should be protected. Self-regulation has utterly failed, and I have to wonder if the UK really has a free press represented in the mainstream at the moment anyway - I refer to the political economy of ownership/editorial stance. I think some action is required, I just hope our elite get it right.

Jim Budd said...

Thanks Geoff. 'If the House of Lords pass the right amendments, bloggers and smaller not-for-profit publishers should be protected.' I hope you are right but it shouldn't be down to a House of Lords amendement, this legislation should have been properly considered before it was voted on by Parliament.