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Wednesday 24 July 2013

Public Prefer Leveson Charter

As arguments continue over the future of press regulation, along has come yet another opinion poll, this one from neither the major part of the Fourth Estate, nor from Hacked Off, which does not make good reading for those who would rather keep things as they are, and just reheat the discredited PCC. The latest survey was done by YouGov for the Media Standards Trust (MST).
Now, there will inevitably be those asserting that the MST and Hacked Off are one and the same, but they are not. And the poll results make grim reading for the press establishment: 50% favour the Royal Charter agreed by MPs, against 13% for that from the industry, while 68% do not have confidence in a system established by the press – up from 56% in May.

Moreover, those believing there is a risk of yet more unethical and illegal behaviour from the press if they set up their own system of regulation has increased from May’s 73% to a massive 82%. 63% of respondents wanted a new system to be set up promptly (against 16% who did not) and 59% of newspaper readers wanted the title they read to join the new system of regulation.

But the worst news for the Fourth Estate comes with the figures showing who is most trusted: Lord Justice Leveson scores 61%, while the major newspaper publishers, from which a broadside of knocking copy aimed at Leveson has emanated, score a mere 17%. And when the subject of the trust question is Rupert Murdoch, that percentage drops into single figures: Rupe scores just 7%.

That suggests the campaign led by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, to suggest that Leveson has been compromised by his advisors and those working on his Inquiry, has been ineffective, as has that against Hacked Off and Hugh Grant, whose trust scores (41% and 44% respectively) are well ahead of the press, and even the three Westminster party leaders.

Unsurprisingly, reporting of this poll has been confined to Press Gazette, the deeply subversive Guardian, and the odd mention from broadcasters. But it is no use for the larger part of the Fourth Estate to stick their collective fingers in their ears and shout that they can’t hear. Even a majority of Daily Mail readers (59%) want their paper to accept the “Leveson Charter”, even if they don’t like it.

The percentage rises to 68% for Times and Telegraph readers, and 72% for those who choose the Guardian. Put directly, the Leveson bashing has not worked. The propaganda attempting to pass off “PCC 2” has not worked. The implicit threats against politicians and public figures who dare to support truly independent press regulation have not worked. The game is up.

It is now time for the Fourth Estate to Do The Right Thing.

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