Ivan Lewis’s speech this morning seems to have rattled a few journalistic cages:
In Britain a free press is non-negotiable. It was brilliant investigative journalism primarily by the Guardian which forced a reopening of the police investigation when too many vested interests simply hoped it would go away. But with freedom also comes responsibility. Neither the current broken system of self regulation or state oversight will achieve the right balance. We need a new system of independent regulation including proper like for like redress which means mistakes and falsehoods on the front page receive apologies and retraction on the front page. And as in other professions the industry should consider whether people guilty of gross malpractice should be struck off.
Journalists of both ends of the spectrum are decrying the possibility of a journalist’s register. The allegedly Smug Gay Lefty in the Telegraph seems particularly stroppy. Although the Guardian doesn’t seem fussed. As Labour’s news outlet of choice I suppose they’re safe. The Mirror hasn’t mentioned it (probably waiting for a soap star’s opinion) and the Independent is keeping a low profile post Hari.
But as with any such legislation is there really any cause for alarm?
Surely only dishonest journalists have anything to fear? Honest journalists, truly working for the public good and with care to good practices, have nothing to fear from the proposed legislation.
Does anyone know any?