Of course, true to form, only hours after I published my previous post, three British press groups threatened to boycott any new self-regulatory body which might be underpinned by statue, the Guardian reported. Classy. As Alex Andreou at the New Statesman wrote, this really is a toddlers’ tantrum.
Much of the press seems to be belly-down on the supermarket floor, punching the linoleum, kicking out and screaming WAAH WAAH BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE REGULATED.
The three groups, News International (aka Hackers ‘R Us), Daily Mail owner Associated Newspapers and the Telegraph Media Group all portrayed themselves as the defenders of freedom of the press and democratic liberty. It should be pointed out, that when Operation Motorman looked into the use of private investigators by the the press and other industries, including the financial and insurance industries, topping the league table by a country mile was the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail says that every one of its 1218 requests from private investigators was legal. I would prefer if a proper investigation determined that rather than take it on the self-interested word of Mail man Paul Dacre.
The Guardian quoted a source close on these efforts who said:
We wouldn’t join the regulator. It would challenge the government to go for full state licensing. This is definitely under active consideration: to stand up against the politicians and for the media and say ‘we’ll go it alone and what are you going to do about it?’ They will just end up fighting for years and newspapers might rediscover a common purpose around press freedom and become a beacon of liberty. This is definitely a fallback position.
Lord Black, a Conservative peer and executive director of the Telegraph Media Group, said any regulator underpinned by statute would be constantly challenged by law. Translation: We’ll unleash our dogs of law.
This isn’t about the freedom of the press. This is about press corporations that want freedom from accountability. This is not about liberty, unless it is the liberty to continue to live outside the laws, ethics and standards of a democratic society.
Journalists, editors and publishers are citizens.We are not above nor outside the law. These three press groups are not defending press freedom, a freedom that exists to support and be balanced by other rights in a democratic society. They are rather fighting for their own self interest . They are not fighting to hold power to account but rather are fighting to hold onto their own power. Shameful.