RELEASE TIME: 6 November 2012
Statutory regulation of the Press would threaten freedom of speech, the CIoJ has warned.
In the month that Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry on phone hacking is due to be published, the CIoJ has re-affirmed its position against any form of state regulation. It strongly believes that the existing legislation on privacy, confidentiality of communications and harassment are quite capable of providing public protection and dealing with any illegality in the Press.
President of the Institute, Norman Bartlett said: “There is an enormous threat to freedom of speech by the type of Press legislation that has been spoken of in some quarters. This is the main reason why the CIoJ resists such moves.”
And he reminded: “The worry is that a tiny group of law breakers and the police not doing their job may lead to a death knell for the rest of the media. The CIoJ would remind both politicians and the public that without journalists this story would have remained hidden as would countless others.”
In its submission to the Leveson inquiry, the CIoJ stated that there was clearly a need for the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to be overhauled and to be given increased powers, but any statutory involvement should be avoided at all costs.
The CIoJ shares the view of many parliamentarians that placing the freedom of the press under the eye of a statutory authority is a threat to democracy.