Leveson

Here’s the link to the petition about the Leveson enquiry which Madeline McCann’s father’s asked you to sign: http://hackinginquiry.org/petition/

And here’s the bespoke letter I just sent to my MP about it, and libel reform (MPs are said to take more notice of tailored letters):

I write about two issues related to free press and free speech.

First, Leveson. I, for one, would like to see the recommendations implemented in full. Furthermore, my conversations with many friends, people on social networks, and colleagues, indicate that many others share this view. Many of these are your constituents: and they are all UK voters. Trevor Kavanagh’s view expressed on TV last night that the electorate don’t care is rubbish.

The Prime Minister said that he would implement the recommendations if they were “not bonkers”. They are not.

He further said this week that “we should think very very hard before doing anything which would impair free speech”. Well the guy he asked to think very very hard about this has done that, and recommended some things, so the PM should do them. Leveson was abundantly clear in his statement on Thursday that the legislation he calls for does not amount to state regulation of the press. It’s rubbish to claim (as the BBC’s Nick Robinson said the PM might) that we couldn’t explain this to the Russians.

Is the PM a man or a mouse? We’ve been in the last chance saloon umpteen times before and there have been way too many suicides of innocent people hounded by the out-of-control press. Time to act. As he said he would.

Of course the newspapers on Friday were supporting his ludicrous position: they don’t want to be managed at all. Which is precisely why Leveson thinks they should.

Why is the PM defending the interests of Mr Murdoch over those of Milly Dowler’s parents? The electorate will never forgive him.

Second, not unrelatedly, thinking “very very hard before doing anything which would impair free speech” also pertains to libel reform, about which we have corresponded before. The Bill currently in the House of Lords is an improvement but not enough. It still lacks a ‘public interest defence’, and hence still wouldn’t have prevented Simon Singh, Ben Goldacre and Peter Wilmshurst from being dragged through the courts for highlighting medical practices which are dangerous. [I spent an hour on the phone yesterday to the guy who runs the libel reform campaign, so this is likely to be accurate.]

Government by the people, of the people and for the people means letting them speak about truth and science, and not have journalists putting messages in their children’s lunchboxes or accusing them of murdering their own children.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Fiennes

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