Leveson is in Australia

Brian Leveson – the English judge who presided over the UK media inquiry – has come to the colonies to lecture us on the rule of law and the evils of bloggers.

If the media in general and journalists in particular see the law going unenforced against those who blog and tweet, might this undermine media standards through encouraging them to adopt a casual approach to the law?

Lawlessness in one area may infect other areas. It may then lead to a more generally casual approach to ethical news-gathering by journalists; one which was less and less likely to approach that role within the boundaries set by the civil, and the criminal, law.

This effect may not be a direct one, in that it might not lead journalists to run stories online in breach of injunctions. Rather it might lead to journalists adopting an approach that was less than scrupulous in the pursuit of stories. In order to steal a march on bloggers and tweeters, they may be tempted to cut corners, to break or at least bend the law to obtain information for stories or to infringe privacy improperly to the same end. It may encourage unethical and, potentially, unlawful practices to get a story.

Shocking! Blogging has led to a decline in journalistic standards. I’m so ashamed.

I love the “Lawlessness in one area may infect other areas” line. It’s true – yet I don’t see Leveson arguing how the progressive income tax leads to high levels of tax evasion. Funny that.

The bottom line is this: Leveson is an enemy of free speech as this clip makes clear.

Here is part of the exchange between Michael Gove and Leveson.

If the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advanced Journalism were to have a UK speaker address them on these issues I’d have thought Michael Gove and not Leveson would have been more appropriate.

Update: Leveson defends himself here.

Make up your own mind. I’m underwhelmed.

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24 Responses to Leveson is in Australia

  1. Token

    In order to steal a march on bloggers and tweeters, they may be tempted to cut corners, to break or at least bend the law to obtain information for stories or to infringe privacy improperly to the same end.

    Strange, in other professions it is recognised that prudence and the use of professional judgement are the skills that differentiate a journeyman from the true master of the art.

    Seems Leverson has lived in a sheltered environment for too much of his career and you do have to question whether he actually had the necessary experience to run this enquiry.

  2. .

    Levenson should have been called for what he is – a medieval relic of star chamber courts.

  3. Sinclair Davidson

    Except for the fact that the whole thing was televised and steamed on the internet. The point remains that an unelected bureaucrat with no accountability to anyone gets to pronounce on press freedom is troubling.

  4. .

    That’s right Sinclair.

    He should go back to 1685.

  5. H B Bear

    The point remains that an unelected bureaucrat with no accountability to anyone gets to pronounce on press freedom is troubling.

    Was Levinson ever anything more than a Trojan horse?

    More troubling will be if (when) you get Margaret Simons and Matthew Rickettson types sitting on “independent” tribunals telling you what you can read in the papers.

  6. Rafe

    Significant to see that he was imported by the Advanced Journalism crew. Schools of journalism are the root of the problem in more ways than one.

  7. Bruce

    That’s right Mr Levenson keep on trying to stop those unpatriotic East Germans from escaping over the wall. We love the propaganda of the MSM so much we prefer the risk of being shot at (or at least Finked at) rather to stay and suck in all the propaganda, lies and drivel which professes to be journalism.

  8. C.L.

    Lawlessness in one area may infect other areas…

    The arc of Gillard’s life story – from the slush fund to the Australia Day Riot – bears this out.

  9. Eddystone

    Lawlessness in one area may infect other areas

    Some laws are unenforceable without repressive State control.

    Repressive State control makes illegal what was formerly legal, creating more “criminals”, solidifying opposition to the State and causing increased lawlessness.

    Lawlessness in one area may infect other areas…

    Etc…

  10. Alfonso

    Left and Right describe not much in these troubled times.
    Now it’s the State vs the sovereign individual….and the smart money is on the State who owns taxation, prisons, very large data bases and armed enforcers.

  11. blogstrop

    Listening to Fran (I’m an activist) Kelly and Michelle Au Gratin this morning made it fairly clear that these same people who now regard the Ashby case as an abuse of process see no conflict in their attitude to that and the Bolt case, which they thought was entirely reasonable, not political at all.
    They even took the trouble to get Greg Barnes on to give the judge a clean bill of health. They must have known this would be a sore point, just as it was with Mordy and learned council back then.

  12. .

    Good point bloggie. I didn’t see a connection, but BAM, there you go. How hypocritical.

  13. Pingback: Would Leveson care to comment? at Catallaxy Files

  14. Tom

    Schools of journalism are the root of the problem in more ways than one.

    Because it seemed a good idea that no-one opposed at the time, in the past 30 years universities have created a virtual monopoly on the supply of journalism graduates for the media industry, which is far from happy with their output. Not only are students not being correctly taught the ethics of fairness and balance, they are being inculcated with an elitist worldview that discards public interest as an affectation of the bogan classes that needs to be corrected.

    This affects the way news-gathering is constructed and the bias in the selection of facts for each story, whether in print, online or on TV or radio.

    In the long term, this capture of journalism training by the left, along with poor literacy training of the secondary education sector, will make news irrelevant and unreadable. Commercial news media need to be alarmed because it is their death warrant.

  15. What Tom said.

    “In the long term, this capture of journalism training by the left, along with poor literacy training of the secondary education sector, will make news irrelevant and unreadable. Commercial news media need to be alarmed because it is their death warrant.”

    It’s been years since I last bought a paper or magazine, or watched TV.
    Commercial TV and the MSM, is doomed, destroyed by the parasite of Leftism it has made no effort to purge itself of.

  16. Borisgodunov

    While comrade leveson is here ,he can liaise with finkelsteen,bromderg,gonski,danby. A nd rokshits to work on the world takeover plan ?

  17. brc

    Commercial news media need to be alarmed because it is their death warrant.

    But it is the life-spring from which blogging wells and has already taken over. The momentum of the big media companies is such that they will take a while to roll to a halt, but they sure are not accelerating or even maintaining their pace.

    Mobile internet usage has already overtaken fixed-line internet usage. In another 10 years, just about every first-world citizen will have a smartphone or tablet, or both, in their possession. And many third-world citizens will have them, too. And once that happens, try and make a good case for buying a paper or magazine, or even paying for content like the Australian.

    Big Media is caught in a pincer action of massive costs and a disinterested market that no longer trusts or cares what it has to say. It’s death is inevitable.

    Try reading the courier mail one day. For a once respectable paper, it’s not fit to line budgie cages.

  18. Gab

    I’d include Rares in that list, Boris.

  19. Borisgodunov

    Is rares churh of England too Gab?

  20. William Bragg

    Make up your own mind. I’m underwhelmed.

    The truth, Sinc, is that your mind was made up before you heard Leveson. That’s what tribalism does, and yes, its intellectually underwhelming indeed.

  21. .

    Yeah, free speech is bad. Whatever, you elitist prick. Of course it will be bloody brilliant when that c**t Abbopt is PM, right?

    Of course our minds were made up, as was yours. We’re consistently for free speech.

    You and Leveson are not.

  22. Cold-Hands

    Is rares churh of England too?

    Steven Rares is a Knox Grammar (prominent Sydney Presbyterian Private School) Old Boy if that’s any help.

  23. I’m posting this to both the Leveson threads here in the hope that any of his defenders (and critics, of course) might read it. It’s via Matt Ridley, “The Rational Optimist”.

    Powerful comment on press regulation from one who knows: http://www.martindurkin.com/short-thoughts/kiss-goodbye-james-delingpole#.UMnM8oQBPc8.twitter

    Seriously, worth a read.

  24. Borisgodunov

    John Knox was not too keen on Free Speech as I recollect ,of course the people he opposed were no better!

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