How has The Leveson Inquiry changed Journalism?
In 2011 David Cameron commissioned Lord Justice Leveson to conduct an Inquiry into the practices of those in the media industry in light of the phone hacking of over 310 victims. Invasive techniques were used to gain private information and exploit sensitive situations, most notably in the case of Milly Dowler and her parents’ voice-mail messages.
Previous to the implications of this inquiry the press operated in a different manor with blurred lines between government, press and public permissions. The extent to which information was of public interest, was the extent to which it was accessible. An ongoing debate asks questions such as who decides the terms of this public interest, and how can it ever truly be monitored? Additionally, is it the job of journalists to publicly reveal this information?
‘..with freedom of speech, comes responsibilities to the public interest: To respect the truth, to obey the Law, and to uphold the rights and liberties of individuals’.
The inquiry lead to closure of the ‘News of the World’ and as a recommendation the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and later the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) was set up to ensure an industry code of practice is adhered to. However, victims of press intrusion have slated these organisations, “Ipso is part of the problem of the worst of UK journalism, not part of the solution..“.
Overall its can be said that the inquiry was an important step in setting a standard by which every media professional should abide. In reality, there are still issues with the passing over of information. In terms of striking a harmony between privacy and journalistic values it feels as though the industry still has a way to go. With Leveson as its benchmark the hope is that the media industry can become more concise and honest with deriving information from the general public and important figures alike.