13 December, 2012

Press Regulation

Anyone who agreed with Lord Leveson that the press should be regulated by an organisation led by a government appointee must surely change their mind following two reports in the Daily Telegraph.

The first is about the investigation into Sergeant Danny Nightingale covered here. At first the Ministry of Defence threatened to issue a D Notice, even though it was obvious that there was no issue of national security at stake. The MoD were holding Nightingale incommunicado, and told the Telegraph that he didn't want his name released. This proved to be an outright lie. Nightingale was desperate to defend himself against the conviction and wanted to get it into the public domain. The MoD knew that this was an unsafe conviction and tried to muzzle the preses so as not to look bad.

Secondly, the Telegraph made inquiries as to the honesty of the expenses claimed by the culture secretary Maria Miller. Ms Miller's aide told the reporter that Miller had regular meetings on the Leveson report 'I'm just going to flag that up' and suggested the reporter get approval from high up in his own paper. The Telegraph has also been threatened by the Prime Minister's Director of Communications Craig Oliver, also saying that Ms Miller was involved in the press regulation discussions - hint.

Mr Cameron was right to say that the press should not be regulated by any arm of government. Now he knows he can't even trust himself. Congratulations to the Telegraph on not allowing itself to be bullied out of two stories, both in the public interest.

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