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Thursday 16 January 2014

Don’t Menshn Press Regulation

As Zelo Street regulars will know, former Tory MP Louise Mensch is one of the first to resort to screaming “liar” at anyone she so much as suspects of less than total honesty. She is also prone to being less than totally honest herself, and when it comes to the still-vexed subject of press regulation, she has been all too ready to dispense with honesty altogether.
Has she got news for us? Not really

This is especially true when anyone mentions the Inquiry and subsequent report of Lord Justice Leveson, which by the most fortunate of coincidences means that Ms Mensch’s views, inevitably hostile to any reform that may satisfy the Leveson recommendations, align very closely with those of Rupert Murdoch, for whom she contributes a regular Sunday Sun column.

When the past week’s events in France – those surrounding the Presidency of Monsieur le Shaggeur Hollande – came to the attention of the Fourth Estate in the UK, Ms Mensch clearly sensed an opportunity to put the boot in to Leveson, Hacked Off, and anyone foolish enough to suggest there should be any sort of change which might give the public any right of redress.
And so it came to pass: as Hollande declined to go into detail with the press corps the other day, off she went: “Thank you #Leveson – coming true today in France. #royalcharter #hackedoff #Hollande”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. But Leveson’s Inquiry and report carries no weight in France. And there is no Government regulation of the French press.
True, France has privacy laws, but these should not be confused with censorship or other kinds of regulation, which Ms Mensch has recently done not once, but twice: later on, she cried “A regulated press just got an EU ruling saying a woman can be convicted for revealing details of HER OWN sex life ... As partner a PM”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.

One, she refers to an ECHR ruling, and the ECHR is not the EU. And two, the case has nothing to do with press regulation, but once again a privacy law, this time in Finland. That the other party had been Prime Minister of the country was largely irrelevant: the law applies to all citizens of that country. And Ms Mensch should have thought very carefully before kicking the Finns.

That is because, for the past two years, Finland has taken first place in the world press freedom index – well ahead of both the UK and USA. The country has a system of properly independent press self-regulation not unlike the setup which would follow from the Leveson recommendations. So Louise Mensch has taken her serial dishonesty and raised it a blatant foot in mouth.

An exceptional result, even for her. But Rupe will be happy, so that’s all right, then.

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