NPR : News

Filed Under:

U.K. Inquiry: News Media 'Wreaked Havoc,' New Watchdog Needed

Saying that the British news media have "caused real hardship and, on occasion, wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people whose rights and liberties have been disdained," the judge appointed to sort out the mess after the U.K.'s tabloid scandal has recommended creation of an independent watchdog. It would be charged with "promoting high standards of journalism and protecting the rights of individuals."

"Lord Justice Leveson has recommended the introduction of the first press law in Britain since the 17th century," as The Guardian writes.

Covering nearly 2,000 pages, Leveson's report and recommendations stem from the scandal that began when it was discovered that one of Rupert Murdoch's U.K. tabloids had hacked into the cellphone of a missing teenage girl — who, it later was learned, had been murdered. The scandal quickly widened as damning evidence emerged of eavesdropping on royals and celebrities and bribes paid to police and public officials for information.

The executive summary (about 55 pages) of Leveson's report is here.

The BBC sums up Leveson's recommendation about a watchdog this way:

"Lord Leveson said he wanted to see a major new self-regulatory body, independent of serving editors, to uphold press standards and the right of victims of intrusion to seek redress. That new body should be backed by legislation designed to assess whether the new industry regulator was doing its job properly. The judge said the legislation would enshrine, for the first time, a legal duty on the government to protect the freedom of the press."

Leveson writes that:

"An independent regulatory body should be established, with the dual roles of promoting high standards of journalism and protecting the rights of individuals. That body should set standards, both through a code and in relation to governance and compliance. The body should: hear individual complaints against its members about breach of its standards and order appropriate redress while encouraging individual newspapers to embrace a more rigorous process for dealing with complaints internally; take an active role in promoting high standards, including having the power to investigate serious or systemic breaches and impose appropriate sanctions; and provide a fair, quick and inexpensive arbitration service to deal with any civil law claims based upon its members' publications."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Compelling Plot Gives Way To Farce In Franzen's Purity

The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly-drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life.
NPR

Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."
WAMU 88.5

Europe's Ongoing Migrant And Refugee Crisis And The Future Of Open Borders

The Austria-Hungary border has become the latest pressure point in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. An update on the huge influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa and the future of open borders within the E.U.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: How to Build Smarter Transportation And More Livable Cities

A new report says the traffic in the U.S. is the worst it has been in years. Yet, some urban transportation experts say there's reason to be optimistic. They point to revitalized city centers, emerging technology and the investment in alternative methods of transportation. A conversation about how we get around today, and might get around tomorrow.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.