Media Council critical of UK’s Leveson inquiry
Bermuda’s media council has expressed its opposition to proposals to regulate the press in the UK following the Leveson inquiry.
A statement from the Media Council said the UK Government proposals had “serious implications for press freedom and would send the wrong message to countries in other parts of the Commonwealth, particularly newer democracies”.
“The Media Council of Bermuda was established two years ago by media companies in response to a proposal by our then Premier to create a government-run press regulator.
“We can only guess at the chilling effect of a government-controlled press council on the local media had Parliament approved the original proposal. Press councils free of government involvement are the only way to go.
“Having kept abreast of recent debates in the UK about the role of media and the government, we can only express our support to the counter proposal put forward by the newspaper industry and reiterate our opposition to the government’s plans to create a Royal Charter to regulate the press.
“We would remind the UK government that notwithstanding the excesses of some journalists, such as those that led to the creation of the Leveson inquiry in the first place, a press free of government and political controls is one of the rights guaranteed to those who live in a democratic society. We would therefore urge the UK government to rethink its proposal.”
The Media Council statement is a response to a request for input by CPU Media Trust which opposes state regulation of the press in the UK.
In 2011, UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Lord Justice Leveson to lead an inquiry into media ethics, culture and practice in Britain, following revelations that some newspapers had engaged in phone hacking and bribery of police in pursuit of stories.
At its conclusion last year, the inquiry recommended the creation of a regulatory body which would be independent from the media, Government and politicians.
But the industry has proposed its own watchdog.