|Friday, 08 July 2011 00:00|
In the last week I’ve received hundreds of emails from residents about the News of the World phone hacking scandal. People are furious about the abuses associated with the paper, the invasion into the private lives of grieving families, and the impact it has had on British journalism as a whole.
I have personally been left stunned by the week’s revelations – this is a huge moment for the media, the police and politics in Britain.
While we must protect a free press – which is so important to our democracy – we must also ensure that any systemic invasions of privacy are stamped out, and that accountability cannot be dodged. We must have faith in our police that they will investigate serious allegations of illegality, and not be compromised in any way in their investigations. But it is clear that the investigations to-date have been seriously flawed.
This morning Ed Miliband gave an important speech where he outlined what needs to be done to reform regulation of the press and ensure strong protection for the public, but also protect the freedom of press that this country needs in order to function properly as a democracy.
In it he made clear that this starts with a full judge-led public inquiry into the culture and unlawful practices of some parts of the newspaper industry, the relationship between the police and media, and the nature of regulation.
We must also look at the issue of media ownership in the UK – which is why we have always said that the decision on the BskyB must be referred to the Competition Commission.
This whole affair has been disgraceful – but it cannot simply end with the closure of the News of the World. Hundreds of journalists who have lost their jobs had nothing to do with the phone hacking and are being unfairly punished.
Ed Miliband’s strong leadership on this issue has shown the way forwards – the government has already been forced to listen to Ed and the huge weight of public outrage, and announced two inquiries into this scandal. If these are done properly they offer us hope that after so much pain for so many people, something good can come of this mess.
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