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Leveson and the Internet

Photo by Julian Simmonds / Rex Features

Photo by Julian Simmonds / Rex Features

Last Thursday, my fellow journalism students and I gathered around our computers to watch Lord Justice Leveson announce the results of his inquiry into the press. OK, we were actually in a lecture and had been told that we had to watch the announcement, but we were still interested.

I’m waiting to see what actually comes out of the report before I pass judgement on the majority of it (as what Leveson wants and what Cameron is prepared to give seem to be two very different things). But, as George Berridge wrote for Wannabe Hacks, the section on the internet is shocking in its brevity.

The total length of the Leveson report: 1000 pages. The proportion of that devoted to the internet: one page. Given that recently the internet community in general has been as badly behaved as the press, this seems nonsensical.

Ethics in newsrooms often leave much to be desired, that much is true. But were the Twitter users who wrongly named Lord McAlpine recently acting any more ethically? And should they be allowed to continue in the same vein while the mainstream press is regulated?

As a blogger, perhaps I should be pleased that my domain is being left well alone. But as a journalist-in-training, I’m not happy. Giving the internet free rein while constricting press freedom will only contribute to the decline of the print media. I’m not convinced that most of Leveson’s proposals should be implemented, but if they are they should apply to all, not just the newspapers.

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