Redbridge MPs give their views on potential Leveson media findings

The future of the press following the Leveson Inquiry has been on the minds of Redbridge MPs this week as the Newspaper Society warns against statutory controls.

Lord Justice Leveson is due to give his findings this month following his inquiry into the phone hacking scandal which examined ethics in the media and heard from journalists, victims, politicians, police officers and the public.

David Newell, The Newspaper Society’s director, has stated that the focus of evidence to Lord Leveson had been “on the behaviour of substantially less than one per cent of newspapers and magazines and the journalists which work for them”.

He argues that a statute-based media standards body, one of the options Lord Leveson could recommend, would impact on everybody’s freedom of expression.

Lee Scott, MP for Ilford North, said the freedom of the press should be paramount when the recommendations are considered.

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He said: “I don’t want to see restrictions on the freedom of the press.

“The Milly Dowler case was wrong and phone hacking was wrong, but it doesn’t apply to local press.

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“We’ll have to see what Lord Leveson comes out with, if there’s some way of protecting privacy, but also the freedom of the press to report things like the Jimmy Savile case.”

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said an independent regulatory system, not run by the government or the press itself, is required.

He said: “I think we need statutory regulation but it depends on what Lord Leveson recommends.”

Adrian Jeakings, chief executive of Archant, which publishes the Recorder, and president of the Newspaper Society, recently told Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that the government should resist any form of political or statutory press control.

He called for a meeting with Mr Clegg over the industry’s “very real concerns” about the issue.

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