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Thread: U.K. "Press Regulation" Three-Party Deal Struck.

  1. #1
    Alistair's Avatar
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    U.K. "Press Regulation" Three-Party Deal Struck.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21825823

    Thoughts?

    Here in the States I've heard this described as a horrible crushing of the free press via state regulation (generally by the right), to something that should be not only repeated, but expanded upon here (generally by the left) in the U.S.

    How does our resident U.K. citizens feel about it? Good or bad this development? Does it infringe upon the idea of a free and independent press, or is it just responsible regulation that does not infringe?


  2. #2
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    I think its a really clever compromise between statutory governance and a voluntary watchdog. Its an independent entity with some teeth that can't be meddled with by politicians. It doesn't interfere with freedom of the press in any way other than to fairly punish (and therefore discourage) abuses. Its everything the PCC should have been, with added "independence" factor.

    All in all, a surprising bit of good work by the 3 main parties.

  3. #3
    Paradox's Avatar
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    I don't really have the perspective that others might due to actively ignoring the tabloid press as often as physically possible... But the unregulated tabloid press in the UK seems to me to be a horrible mess of useless gossip and blather.

    The phone hacking scandal is illustrative of a set of organisations (most of the tabloids are owned by the same company anyway) that seem to hold themselves above the law and that really isn't on. A bit of regulation for the press to ensure some privacy seems to me like a good trade.

    I would disagree if the tabloids were able to hold themselves to a certain standard of jounalistic integrity but that just doesn't happen.

    As for whether the Royal charter will have a law underpinning it; I don't really have an opinion until the legislation is discussed publicly by people smarter than me. And when that does happen I won't comment because I'm not really qualified to.


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    In terms of the actual regulations, the rules the press are expected to play by, it's mostly just a changing of hats. Prior to this whole debacle, the press set their own rules and codes of conduct and complaints procedures [and then largely ignored them]. After this, the press are still going to be the ones setting their own rules. There's no state licensing of newspapers, there's no state regulation of what can and cannot or what should and should not be printed. Those things are still in the hands of the press themselves.

    The changes are in how those regulations are enforced. As a nation, we're generally pretty sick of the print press. Certain sections have spent the last 30 years printing whatever they please, safe in the knowledge that the complexity and cost of the courts and their close relationships with those in power will protect them from any repercussions. Rules, intended to curtail the most egregious abuses of the tabloids, are treated more as guidelines, or just as often a list of things to not get caught doing - not a list of things not to do.

    So, what this bill does is establish an independent and voluntary regulator. It is going to be independent from the press and the state. The flagship body, the "appointing body" will be made up of politically neutral, prominent professionals, with one representative from the press. Its responsibilities will be in oversight and confirmation. They will be responsible for appointing a panel from the press (a mix of journalists and editors, unlike the current body which is just editors/proprietors), and it is that press panel who will be responsible for drafting the code of conduct. The appointing body will be the ones who sign off on that set of rules as the binding code of conduct for those who sign up to the regulatory body. The body will operate on a majority principle - some had wanted a requirement for unanimity, giving the press's representative an effective veto on the panel.

    They will also appoint a regulation panel, the body responsible for the actual administration of the code of conduct. The body will have the power to levy heavy fines for egregious breaches and to direct apologies when the code is broken. That word "direct" is important, as it means instead of asking the paper to apologise nicely and having it tucked away on page 76 next to the obituaries, they can require, for example in the instance of a false front page story, a full front page apology.

    Now, this regulation is voluntary. There is no law requiring anyone to sign up. So, it has some carrot and stick thrown into the mix. In return for joining the regulator, members get certain protections. They are unlikely to be subject to heavy fines or damages in cases where the code has been broken but in good faith or in the public interest. They get access to a legally binding arbitration service, reducing the risk of court costs for things like libel cases.

    And the stick. If you don't sign up to the regulator, you are likely to be subject to what are being termed "exemplary damages" if you break the law. You are also probably going to be liable for the costs of any "reasonable" cases brought against you, even if you win. That is a big financial incentive to either join the regulator or ensure your practices are cleaner than clean.

    This element of carrot/stick, costs and protections, are what require there to be a law passed. You can't have the courts treating two press bodies differently without legislative backing. It'd be a mess. The conservatives wanted to try and pull off this regulation without any kind of legislation, and have broadly lost on this point. The other side wanted the legislation to be much more rigorous and comprehensive, but have ended up compromising with the regulator being established under a "Royal Charter" instead (the differences are archaic, esoteric and complex).


    As an aside, one of the funnier bits of political misplay with the Royal Charter element came from the conservatives. They proposed the royal charter as an alternative to legislation (the lib/lab grouping stole a march on the tories and published a draft plan using this idea on friday). The problem with this is such charters are controlled by a body called the Privy Council. In theory the PC, made up of senior ministers, judges etc. past and present, can change a charter at any time without going to parliament. So by proposing this be done entirely by charter (in theory removing political influence), the tories were proposing to place the rules of regulation entirely within the oversight of the appointed ministers of the day, rather than parliament. In the end, the tories have given up on this point (the other major point of concession) and have allowed the whole business to be protected under an Act of Parliament, with an "entrenchment clause" requiring any future modifications to have a 2/3 majority of both houses of parliament.


    In general, it's actually a pretty reasonable resolution to this whole affair. It has the backing of all 3 parties, it has the backing of the victims and even has the backing of most of the press (the NUJ and a chunk of the papers). In my opinion the papers opposing it (mostly those on the right under News Corp) have mis-stepped, as did Cameron in trying to make a play and putting the whole thing "before parliament" to call the lib/lab bluff. If he hadn't struck this last-minute deal at 2.30 am, about this time today we'd have had the wonderful spectacle of the government actually losing a vote in parliament. Doesn't happen nearly enough.
    Last edited by elmicker; March 18 2013 at 05:43:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Keorythe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    Here in the States I've heard this described as a horrible crushing of the free press via state regulation (generally by the right), to something that should be not only repeated, but expanded upon here (generally by the left) in the U.S.
    Those in the States in favor of this are usually the ones that think they'll be the ones running it. We don't have a royal charter here and I don't think it would hold up very well to any 1st amendment scrutiny either. The FCC isn't even a direct comparison as it only deals with commerce and access.

  6. #6
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    Here in the States I've heard this described as a horrible crushing of the free press via state regulation (generally by the right), to something that should be not only repeated, but expanded upon here (generally by the left) in the U.S.
    Those in the States in favor of this are usually the ones that think they'll be the ones running it. We don't have a royal charter here and I don't think it would hold up very well to any 1st amendment scrutiny either. The FCC isn't even a direct comparison as it only deals with commerce and access.
    What protection is there against abuses by the press, e.g. false statements, corrections, etc? Straight into court for libel?

  7. #7
    Keorythe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    Here in the States I've heard this described as a horrible crushing of the free press via state regulation (generally by the right), to something that should be not only repeated, but expanded upon here (generally by the left) in the U.S.
    Those in the States in favor of this are usually the ones that think they'll be the ones running it. We don't have a royal charter here and I don't think it would hold up very well to any 1st amendment scrutiny either. The FCC isn't even a direct comparison as it only deals with commerce and access.
    What protection is there against abuses by the press, e.g. false statements, corrections, etc? Straight into court for libel?
    Legally libel is it. The self regulation bit kicks in hard due to the plethora of media out there who love to jump on someone elses mistakes. If an media source made a mistake and are slow to public a correction, you take it to their competitor who will publicly shame them for ratings. If it's an opinion piece or from a guest then you're out of luck as it's an opinion.

    We saw plenty of correction and competitors taking it to the floor during the Presidential debates and in other policy related stories as a prime example.
    Last edited by Keorythe; March 20 2013 at 02:17:58 AM.

  8. #8
    מלך יהודים Zeekar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    Here in the States I've heard this described as a horrible crushing of the free press via state regulation (generally by the right), to something that should be not only repeated, but expanded upon here (generally by the left) in the U.S.
    Those in the States in favor of this are usually the ones that think they'll be the ones running it. We don't have a royal charter here and I don't think it would hold up very well to any 1st amendment scrutiny either. The FCC isn't even a direct comparison as it only deals with commerce and access.
    What protection is there against abuses by the press, e.g. false statements, corrections, etc? Straight into court for libel?
    Legally libel is it. The self regulation bit kicks in hard due to the plethora of media out there who love to jump on someone elses mistakes. If an media source made a mistake and are slow to public a correction, you take it to their competitor who will publicly shame them for ratings. If it's an opinion piece or from a guest then you're out of luck as it's an opinion.

    We saw plenty of correction and competitors taking it to the floor during the Presidential debates and in other policy related stories as a prime example.
    Yet if that actually made a difference Fox would go bankrupt ages ago.


    

  9. #9
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeekar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lallante View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Alistair View Post
    Here in the States I've heard this described as a horrible crushing of the free press via state regulation (generally by the right), to something that should be not only repeated, but expanded upon here (generally by the left) in the U.S.
    Those in the States in favor of this are usually the ones that think they'll be the ones running it. We don't have a royal charter here and I don't think it would hold up very well to any 1st amendment scrutiny either. The FCC isn't even a direct comparison as it only deals with commerce and access.
    What protection is there against abuses by the press, e.g. false statements, corrections, etc? Straight into court for libel?
    Legally libel is it. The self regulation bit kicks in hard due to the plethora of media out there who love to jump on someone elses mistakes. If an media source made a mistake and are slow to public a correction, you take it to their competitor who will publicly shame them for ratings. If it's an opinion piece or from a guest then you're out of luck as it's an opinion.

    We saw plenty of correction and competitors taking it to the floor during the Presidential debates and in other policy related stories as a prime example.
    Yet if that actually made a difference Fox would go bankrupt ages ago.
    This is what I was thinking. Fox would actually be illegal in the UK

  10. #10
    i mow lawns for a living Rai Deo's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly the way Fox gets around that is by labeling themselves an entertainment channel rather than a news outlet. Perhaps if the FCC had stricter definitions of what constituted a news source/entertainment channel the existing libel procedure would be more effective.

  11. #11
    smuggo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rai Deo View Post
    If I remember correctly the way Fox gets around that is by labeling themselves an entertainment channel rather than a news outlet. Perhaps if the FCC had stricter definitions of what constituted a news source/entertainment channel the existing libel procedure would be more effective.
    That's pretty hilarious if true.

  12. #12
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    nah not true. The US just doesnt have the same rules on neutrality that the UK does.

  13. #13
    Diicc Tater's Avatar
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    Worth a watch. Might be slanted but if it's true that he was adviced against suing because of the frequent lies told by O'Reilly....

    In Sweden, channels/programs FOX News/O'Reilly Factor would have to spend half their air time redacting and apologizing for their shit.

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  14. #14
    Max Teranous's Avatar
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    The entire press regulation thing has gone quiet - last i saw was the majority of papers saying they weren't going to join up to statuatory underpinned regulator - so what happens next?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Teranous View Post
    The entire press regulation thing has gone quiet - last i saw was the majority of papers saying they weren't going to join up to statuatory underpinned regulator - so what happens next?
    they get bumfucked with punitive damages and legal fees as civil cases brought against unregulated newspapers are now no win no fee.

  16. #16
    Movember '12 Best Facial Hair Movember 2012Donor Lallante's Avatar
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    Yeah give it a year or two for cases against the papers to go through and they will all join up

  17. #17
    Max Teranous's Avatar
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    So it looks like the newspaper industry is giving a big "fuck you" to the governments plan and is setting up it's own regulatory body with it's own royal charter, not the one that was set up a few weeks back:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013...-royal-charter

    The newspaper industry, led by five of the country's largest press groups, has rejected David Cameron's plans for press regulation and launched a bid to set up its own royal charter-backed body.

    Sun publisher News International, Telegraph Media Group, Associated Newspapers – which owns the Daily Mail – Trinity Mirror and Express Newspapers have drawn up a draft alternative royal charter, which will be put to the privy council later on Thursday.

    All four industry bodies, including the Newspaper Society, which represents national and local titles, are backing the plan.

  18. #18
    Donor TheManFromDelmonte's Avatar
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    I've heard rumours they're going to install a jacobite as their king to get their own royal charter.

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