Search

David Aaronovitch and Kathy Lette weigh in on Leveson Inquiry

07:06 07 December 2012

ljcc

ljcc

Archant

Everyone from outspoken writers to local councillors in Hampstead and Highgate have weighed in with their opinion on the Leveson Inquiry as the investigation into media ethics eclipses the headli

Still hot off the press, national and local newspapers are formulating their stance on the recommendation to have press regulation underpinned by statute.

If the proposals go forward, they would create the first press laws in the UK since the 17th century.

Reactions have varied from claims about the death of the free press to applause from victims of media abuse.

However, with hundreds of pages of the 2,000-page report devoted to privacy intrusions practiced by some national newspapers, Lord Justice Leveson also pointed out the comparatively clean reputation of regional and local newspapers.

He said: “Although accuracy and similar complaints are made against local newspapers, the criticisms of culture, practices and ethics of the press that have been raised in this inquiry do not affect them – on the contrary, they have been much praised.”

But any new regulation will be extended across the entire press, though the finer details of how local papers will be dealt with versus national papers is yet to be established.

The Times columnist David Aaronovitch, who lives in Hampstead, said: “Unfortunately, we’re all involved, whether we’re implicated in it or not.

“The last time I harassed a celebrity was never.

“I think that Leveson is trying to deal with things that are not illegal and good ethics, and it’s that gap that we’re talking about and whether you need regulations to deal with the gap.”

Mr Aaronovitch instead pointed to the sway local newspapers can hold over a community.

Speaking of a series of articles about parking enforcement that ran in the Ham&High in 2006, he said: “Tom Conti was running the campaign and helped make the issue of parking wardens a big issue in council elections, and Labour were tossed out of a good council, when in fact, there were many more important issues.”

He added: “I might be more concerned about journalistic tendencies to do that than I would be about whether to doorstep Ricky Gervais.”

Leader of Camden Council, Cllr Sarah Hayward, said fines and punishment levied by any press regulating body should be proportionate.

“If there’s something on the front page of The Sun that is untrue, its impact is far greater.

“I wouldn’t expect local papers to have to see that level of fine,” she said.

She also spoke of the need for local papers to strike a balance in who they choose to cover.

The English Collective of Prostitutes, a group based in Kentish Town which campaigns for the abolition of prostitution laws, said its own complaints about intrusion by press photographers in the past have fallen on deaf ears.

Spokeswoman, Cari Mitchell, said: “What guarantee is there that an independent board will be any more responsive to the public’s complaints?”

Head of the Newspaper Society, Adrian Jeakings, who is also chief executive of Archant, publisher of the Ham&High, said regional and local papers in Britain have always been “vehemently opposed to any form of statutory involvement in the regulation of the press”.

He said: “This would impose an unacceptable regulatory burden on the industry, potentially inhibiting freedom of speech and the freedom to publish.”

Outspoken author Kathy Lette, who lives in the area took a more humorous approach to the report, which has dominated the headlines, for over a week.

“I am going to sue Rupert Murdoch because my phone wasn’t tapped.

“What a loss of reputation!

“And also, the hours I wasted being witty and erudite on the phone, just in case I was being taped.

“I bon mot-ed for Britain. And all for nothing!”

Taking on a more serious note, the author who most recently wrote the best-seller, The Boy Who Fell to Earth said: “The thing about ‘freedom of speech’ is that it’s very expensive.

“What I’d like to change are the libel laws, so that it’s easier to tell the truth without the terror of being sued.”

She added: “Local papers are a vital voice for communities. To silence them would be a tragedy.”

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West has said she will vote down the 'Brexit bill' when it comes before Parliament

Hornsey and Wood Green’s Labour MP Catherine West has said she will vote against Brexit when the referendum bill comes before Parliament in an attempt to undo what she sees as a catastrophic decision by the nation.

Police were called to reports of an armed robbery

Officers discovered two men armed with a suspected firearm and a large bladed weapon in the NatWest bank

Harrow Crown Court (Picture: PA Images)

A letting agent who conned tenants and landlords out of more than £200,000 as part of a ‘crude fraud’ was handed a four and a half year jail sentence in a courtroom packed by victims.

08:54
Gavin Brewer (l) and Stuart Meads (r). Facebook

A construction firm has been fined £550,000 for the “wholly preventable” deaths of a police officer and his musician partner who plunged to their deaths after falling through a roadside hoarding in Camden.

Sir Keir Starmer has resigned as shadow Home Office minister

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer has become the latest politician to quit his shadow ministerial role in a mass exodus from Jeremy Corbyn’s team.

Yesterday, 12:34
Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has said the government must now do its best to deliver for the country in the aftermath of the Referendum

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has urged the government to make the best of the shock EU Referendum result as the Conservative Party tears itself apart in the aftermath.

Yesterday, 10:34
The impact of Brexit is being assessed

Workers in the Square Mile are bracing for months of pain as banks and financial institutions begin the process of considering whether to slash jobs or relocate to Europe in the wake of Brexit.

Yesterday, 09:29
Councillor Andrew marshall

One of Camden’s most Europhile councillors will not seek re-election as a Conservative in 2018 because of his anger at how some within the party behaved during the Referendum campaign.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe