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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Will Hutton: Yes to Press Regulation

Will Hutton writes in the Observer today why he, 'as a journalist and ex-editor', favours regulation of the press. We reproduce an edited version of his piece here.
"There's really a lot of bunk talked about freedom of expression. It's really not that important, is it? After all, most people's opinions seem to be nonsense to me. I'd rather hear the views of the sort of sensible people I have seated around my dinner table. 

Freedom of the Press leads to irresponsible criticism of the sort of fine upstanding people who run Common Purpose, an organisation selflessly devoted to ensuring that the views expressed at my dinner table are promulgated throughout the public sector, and of such wholly impartial and independent organisations as the Media Standards Trust and the Institute for Bureau of Investigative Journalism, all committed to eliminating the sorts of nonsense opinions held by the majority of the public. 

As for the exposure of my good friend Hugh Grant in paying for oral sex in a public place from a black crack whore, it was clearly despicable. It cost him his charming girlfriend. If people like Hugh can't be allowed to deceive their partners without the press sneaking on them what sort of world do we live in?

We've already got courts and injunctions, of course, but these are really expensive and have to be paid for from my friends' private resources. How much fairer it would be if the taxpayer instead paid the cost of hiding their secrets from the public, allowing them to retain their own wealth for social good.

Of course a Press Regulation body will only protect those at the heart of the establishment - it really can't be concerned with injustice against unimportant people, and since the taxpayer will bear all the costs of protecting the rich and famous from the Press I'm sure people will agree that this is right."


Anonymous said...

Very sardonic, a contemptuous piece and how very true, not all journos are complete prats.

Ian Hills said...

Brilliant. I have cross-posted with a link (and corrected "Institute for" to "Bureau of" Investigative Journalism).

Barnacle Bill said...

Another very astute and amusing post Raedwald.

John M said...

And The Guardia, with all the backbone of a wet towel, doesn't even enable comments. No wonder.

Greg Tingey said...


What does one do about the Murdoch press (& others) who interfere in murder investigations for profit? And who make the lives of the parents of the victim an even greater hell?
Or who casually ruin the lives of innocent bystanders (happens virtually weekly)?
Or who grossly libel innocent persons in other murder enquiries (the Jo Yates' case)?

There has to be some means of stoppin this vile behaviour, whils, at the same time, allowing real investigative journalism & a free press to continue.

Not going to be easy, is it?

Anonymous said...

Greg.. FFS Stop talking bollocks..

Even the Guardian has now admitted that NI / NOTW didnt hack Milly Dowlers phone you bloody partisan arse...

Edward Spalton said...


As Ian Hislop of Private Eye pointed out at the enquiry, all the things which Leveson was investigateing were already crimes. There was plenty of law available - it just wasn't being enforced - because many of the offences were winked at by the politicians ultimately responsible for regulation (who were looking for favours from journalists) and the police were being bribed by the journalists.

When a "respectable" media outfit like the BBC (which has hundreds if not thousands of internal regulators) can make a booboo like the McAlpine case, it shows that regulation just does not work. Of course, it would have worked if Lord McAlpine had been Labour not Conservative. That is the sort of regulation aspired to by the various Common Purpose offshoots. They were proposing a press authority, financed by a levy on newspapers, to be staffed by themselves and their friends.

G. Tingey said...

E Spalton

In the same way as with the Stephen Lawrence case, the local cops were hand-in-glove with the local crooks, & would rather be thought "institutionally racist" than admitting to be bent.

Makes life very interesting, does it not?

Meanwhile, what do we do abou it?
Since, as already admitted, real actual crimes were committed by journos, can we look forward to the law, as it presently stands, being enforced?
Or, do I go & 'ave a good larf?

Anon 2 said...

Well said and interpreted, Raedwald (through all the diversionary rhetoric of the original).

You're right to make this hay; I especially noted Will Hutton's opinion that: "As the system began to work, it would open the way to less absurd libel laws, for many the only line of defence against vicious media. Is the whole exercise stillborn because of the rise of new media? Obviously not. The rule of law must extend everywhere in our society, even to the net. It may be harder to do, but that does not mean the attempt should not be made; if we don't have a framework for the analogue world we have no template for the digital," (Comment is Free. The Observer.. Web. Saturday 24 November 2012).

Anon 2 said...

P.S: Mind you, I do believe that individuals should have some protection by law. The trouble is that the Law is not longer about justice, but about enforcement of Marxism. So all lives are at risk of destruction by stigmatisation and defamation.

Budgie said...

Rather good Raedwald. Of course the BBC was very anti Murdoch because he, and his son, managed to build a viable competitor to the BBC without the BBC's monopoly hypothecated tax advantage.

The existing laws are sensible and straightforward, and already provide adequate protection of individuals. But political regulation of what the press can report will prevent establishment abuses, conspiracies and incompetence from being revealed.

And the odiously biased BBC should be sold off as pay-to-view. Let's see if it can stand on its own feet peddling Common Purpose/Gaudianista claptrap.

G. Tingey said...


Murdoch is vile, & so are his papers...

If the existing laws are sensible, then WHY are they not being enforced? Answers on a postcard, please.

I STILL don't understand this hatred of the beeb, at all.
Is it some sort of brain-virus or meme that y ou've caught, like religion?

James Higham said...

Lovely. Great to see you doing this, Radders.