November 29, 2012

This was posted yesterday, November 28th

Why The Spectator will take no part in state licensing of the press

Lord Justice Leveson reports at 1.30pm tomorrow and David Cameron has blocked out 90 minutes in parliament to respond. The big question is this: will he introduce state licensing of the media? A group of 42 Tory MPs wants him to, and No.10 apparently thinks they will rebel if he doesn’t. But this would mean revoking Britain’s 317-year history of press freedom, and give Parliament power to set the parameters under which the press operates. If the state seeks to compel publications to join the government scheme, then they face a choice: sign up, or defy the new law. In tomorrow’s Spectator, we make our choice.

We say in our leading article that we would happily sign up to any new form of self-regulation which the industry proposes, no matter how onerous. But we would have no part in any regulatory structure mandated by the state. That is to say: we would not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces. To do so would simply betray everything that The Spectator has stood for since 1828.

I would say that we thought long and hard about this, but it wasn’t a tough decision. For anyone who works at The Spectator, it’s a no-brainer

Via Samizdata.net

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