Tuesday, 31 July 2007

An Irresponsible Media?

In 'Relations between the executive, the judiciary and Parliament' the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution concluded: -

"We believe that the media, especially the popular tabloid press, all too often indulge in distorted and irresponsible coverage of the judiciary, treating judges as "fair game". A responsible press should show greater restraint and desist from blaming judges for their interpretation of legislation which has been promulgated by politicians. If the media object to a judgment or sentencing decision, we suggest they focus their efforts on persuading the Government to rectify the legal and policy framework. In order to ensure more responsible reporting, we recommend that the Editors' Code of Practice, which is enforced by the Press Complaints Commission, be regularly updated to reflect these principles."

The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport has recently published a report on Self-regulation of the press. It highlighted concerns about the behaviour of the British press.

"Certain recent events, however, have again led the public and politicians to question the integrity of methods used by reporters and photographers to gather material for publication by the press. Chief among these events were the conviction of Mr Clive Goodman, the royal editor of the News of the World, for interception of communications without lawful authority, and the hounding of Ms Kate Middleton, the then girlfriend of HRH Prince William, in the expectation that the two might shortly announce their engagement.

The system of self-regulation of the press constructed in 1991 in the wake of the Calcutt Inquiry in 1990 failed to prevent these lapses, and the image of the press was again damaged as a result."

John Lloyd has written a thought provoking book "What the Media Are Doing to Our Politics" .

I'd welcome your comments on what, if anything, should be done about the role of the press in politics.