Posted by: admin in Legal Issues on November 26th, 2012

The World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) has warned against the possible infringements of the UK’s free press in advance of the imminent Leveson report, due to be published on Thursday. The Committee, which campaigns against press limitation across the world, has written to a number of prominent MP’s, including Foreign Secretary William Hague and Justine Greening, the international development secretary. The letter advises that legislation in the press would lead to encouragement of ‘illiberal regimes’ across the world, and would play into the hands of some of the most notorious dictators of the moment.

‘Chill’ in the World’s Press

In the letter Ronald Koven, European representative for the WPFC, writes:

“One shudders to think how any recommendations for a statutory or quasi-statutory regulatory regime which the Leveson inquiry might recommend could be exploited in any number of countries with far weaker press freedom records, including in the Commonwealth.”

The letter is, notably, backed by the Free Speech Network, which represents the Newspaper Publishers Association, of which many UK publications are members, and includes messages from editors and journalists in foreign countries who have been jailed for writing on subjects that offended their leaders.

Confidence in Government

It is believed, however, that Prime Minister David Cameron is more in favour of a model of regulation proposed by the current head of the Press Complaints Commission, Lord Hunt, which favours a system whereby editors would have to work with set and specified standards. This is opposed to the expected suggestion that the Leveson report will make, which involves a new statutory body directly governing and regulating the press. There is considerable opposition to the Leveson findings in Fleet Street and in newspapers across the UK, and it would now seem that the rest of the world has a vested interest in a free UK press.

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