Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Leveson Report

Lord Justice Leveson has just now presented his much-awaited report on the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. The presentation was organised with clockwork precision almost like a spacecraft launch.

He has explained the role of the press as one to inform, educate and entertain (I hope Justice Katju has noticed the entertainment part also). He expects the press to be unruly, opinionated and irreverent in performance of its duties.

Leveson has advocated the need for a statute to lend credibility to an independent self-regulator for the press. The report wants the self-regulatory body to be independent of newspaper editors, government and politicians. Expecting the impossible?

Similarity with the Indian situation becomes obvious when Leveson points out the slowness of criminal judicial process which is partly responsible for the outrageous behaviour of the press. Sensationalism of some parts of the press has rightly been condemned.

Lord Leveson is confident that his report will speak for itself. The 2000 page report would demand a lot of patience from the readers. Asserting that the press is the guardian of democratic values, he wonders who would guard the guardians. That is a million pound question.

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