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Thursday 30 April 2015

Tories Abandon Press Victims

In a clear sign that Young Dave and his jolly good chaps will do whatever it takes, however shameless and unprincipled, in order to get themselves back into power at next week’s General Election, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has - one has to assume with Cameron’s, and Lynton Crosby’s, approval - effectively given the party’s pals in the press an assurance that they can carry on misbehaving, and nothing will be done about it.
This has involved Javid telling one flat-out lie, as well as threatening the BBC with some as yet unspecified sanction for its failure to report the news in a manner which meets with the approval of CCHQ. If advocates of a more trustworthy and accountable press needed to have the choice between the two major parties on the issue thrown into the starkest of focus, this was the moment that it happened.

Javid “accused the BBC of bias – calling one item ‘very, very anti-Tory’ – and said the job of changing the way the press is regulated is done … Warning that the upcoming charter review would include an investigation into bias, Javid said in a Daily Mail report that Labour’s commitment to revisit regulation risks interfering with press freedomtold the Guardian. If that sounds ominous, well, it’s because it is ominous.

He observed “Last week, listening to the Today programme, there was a debate… they were all anti-Tory. It came across as very, very anti-Tory”. We don’t get any more detail, but we do find that Javid “confirmed that the Tories had no plans to change press regulation”. Nobody is asking them to change anything, but those campaigning for greater accountability would like to see a commitment to follow through on Leveson.

Instead, Javid very deliberately sides with that part of the press opposed to the Leveson recommendations and the Royal Charter, replying to the question of whether his party would back a Leveson compliant regulator that “No, we won’t. But Labour will. It interferes with the freedom of the press. It goes fundamentally against one of the Leveson principles, which is independent self-regulation”. This is dishonest and self contradictory.

He says a Leveson compliant regulator “interferes with the freedom of the press”, but then says that is also “fundamentally against one of the Leveson principles”. Yes, complying with the Leveson principles is against the Leveson principles! But what is clear from Javid’s comments is that the Tories are not going to do or say anything that will offend their friends in the press, whose services they presumably still value highly.

And one service that the Tories clearly value highly is the press’ ability to rough up the BBC, as both the Sun and Telegraph have done in advance of this evening’s party leaders’ Question Time special. This is what you can look forward to under the Tories: press misbehaviour can carry on as if Leveson had never happened, and if the Beeb tries any of that balanced reporting, they can expect demonisation - and maybe even sanctions.

The Nasty Party wants to look after itself, and stuff any of that Doing The Right Thing.

1 comment:

Blackout said...

Well, bias is certainly a problem in the media these days, and I hope Javid gets finished with 'B' soon so he can get onto the other letters of the alphabet. Although something tells me it'll be a while before he gets round to 'S'...