Hacked Off Bill Falls at First Freedom Hurdle

Hugh Grant’s lobbying group Hacked Off are trying very hard to pretend that they do not support statutory regulation of the press. Their draft bill, which would implement Leveson in full, is nicely dressed up as apparently defending “media freedom”, when in fact the opposite is true. They claim that ‘The Leveson Bill will enshrine press freedom in law. Political meddling will only debase it,” yet their “statutory underpinning” falls over almost immediately. In the third clause to be precise:

(3) Interference with the activities of the media by Ministers
of the Crown and public officials shall be unlawful
unless it is for a legitimate purpose and is necessary in a
democratic society, having full regard to the importance
of media freedom in a democracy.

So the government can’t intervene with the press unless it “for a legitimate purpose”. And who will be deciding what is and is not a “legitimate purpose”? Surely not the lawmakers? Back to the drawing board please, freedom haters.

Leveson Effect: Can You See What It Is Yet?


Over the last few weeks the police Operation Yewtree has questioned a number of celebrities over allegations of sex crimes. Each time the papers have known the names of those arrested or questioned, each time the first the public knew about it was when this blog broke the story.

We scooped the press on the arrests of Max Clifford and Jim Davidson. Today we can report that Rolf Harris has also been questioned under caution by police from Operation Yewtree. This has been an open secret in media circles for weeks, journalists and newspaper editors alike have known about the story – yet none has published the news. Why?

No judge has ordered reporting restrictions in relation to Rolf Harris, no super-injunctions prevent the reporting of news concerning him, instead his lawyers Harbottle and Lewis are citing the Leveson Inquiry’s report in letters to editors of newspapers – cowing them into silence. The Leveson effect is real and curtailing the freedom of the press through fear.

In the case of Max Clifford a popular media commentator was our source, with Jim Davidson an ex-copper tipped us off and a local journalist gave us confirmation. This blog is nimble and prepared to take risks, so we are beating all the other news organisations who post-Leveson prefer to await for official police confirmation. This blog is in the news business, we want to beat the competition, we want to be first, we’re proud of breaking stories. We want our readers to be the first to know what is going on.

When the Leveson Inquiry began Guido upset the judge by publishing Alistair Campbell’s evidence before he gave it. Leveson responded by placing a restriction order on this blog. Neatly illustrating by example that the Leveson Inquiry could bring in an era of judicial censorship. It is more subtle than that currently, the chilling effect is that editors fear the prospect of a law rather than any actual new law.

This blog likes being the first to report the news, we would also like to win in a fair fight. The press has its hands tied. A free press ensures that the police do not go about their business in secret. A secret police is a dangerous thing, reporting the arrest of suspects is an important safeguard in a free society – for them and us. We are in danger of losing that safeguard.

See also: Post Leveson British Press Won’t Publish Naked Harry Pictures

Review of 2012: Guido v Leveson

2012 was very much the year Brian Leveson enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame, spending £5 million of taxpayers’ money to change, well, nothing, leaving nobody’s favourite Lord Justice free to jet off into the Australian sunset. Leveson couldn’t get enough of Guido in February, though it is fair to say both he and the Information Commissioner less than appreciated this blog exclusively publishing the Operation Motorman Blue Book later on in the spring. An establishment cover-up of hundreds of crimes committed by journalists was revealed, and Brian went bonkers…

The Leveson effect meant no British media outlet would run the naked photos of Prince Harry that emerged overnight from Vegas during the summer,  fortunately for readers of this blog Guido didn’t care what Leveson thought. When Kate Middleton’s topless snaps found their way onto the internet Guido let the public decide whether or not to publish, you chose to spare the Duchess of Cambridge’s dignity. It didn’t hurt traffic though…

When it came down to it, Dave decided that Leveson’s demand for statutory regulation of the press was a step – to the seventeenth century – too far. There was a bashing for Piers though. As we enter 2013 Brian is gone yet not quite forgotten…

Full Text of Brian Leveson’s Australia Speech


Leveson All in a Muddle Down Under

Leveson has been speaking in Oz this morning. The man who only realised half way through his own inquiry that most journalists did not write their own headlines, has been dispensing some more pearls of wisdom about newspapers. Apparently bloggers are to blame for the drop in media standards and ethics, as it is making  hacks have to work harder and “undermine media standards through encouraging them to adopt a casual approach to the law”. Yes, it’s all those pesky bloggers fault that the News of the World hacked phones…

Most print hacks, especially in Westminster, are already are bloggers and tweeters. Leveson should have looked at the level of content produced on websites and on Twitter compared to what actually makes it into to print. The ‘can’t beat, so join them’ horse has already bolted.

Leveson’s attempts to shut the stable door through statutory regulation is looking increasingly absurd.

Tom Watson’s Prank Call Nurse Press Smears Unravel

Over the last few days the Hacked Off brigade have been desperate for it to emerge that the prank call nurse had been contacted by hacks before she took her own life. Evan Harris salivated on Saturday:

Tom Watson even went as far as directly accusing journalists of “spooking” the woman, despite the fact they did not know her name:

Now the Press Complaints Commission have poured water on the press-haters’ wet dream. Lord Hunt told MPs earlier:

MP: “Was nurse hounded by press before she took her life?”
LH: “I don’t think so”

Yet another one in the eye for Watson. He’s not having a good run of it lately…

WATCH: Aussie DJs Laughing and Explaining Prank Yesterday

Here are Oz DJ’s Michael Christian and Mel Greig explaining their prank yesterday:

Wonder who is going to wake them up?

Kate Middleton Prank Call Taker Found Dead Suspected Suicide


The Mail is reporting that the receptionist who was pranked by the Australian Queen impersonator has been found dead in a suspected suicide. Scotland Yard say:

‘Police were called at approximately 9.25am on Friday, December 7, to a report of a woman found unconscious an address in Weymouth Street, W1. London Ambulance Service attended and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances of the incident. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage’.



Leveson Demands Laws to ‘Civilise’ the Internet Brian Speaks Down Under

levFresh off the plane to Sydney, jet-setting Lord Justice Leveson has wasted no time in having a pop at the internet on tour down under. His withering and rather unfortunately timed moan ended up almost as a Leveson Report 2.0:

“I am watching developments in the UK with interest. 



Balls Off Script Again

Ed Balls blamed his stammer for getting his script wrong yesterday but he still did not have anything to say this morning:

“I’m not going to come on the Today programme within 24 hours and start making ex cathedra statements without taking a proper judgement”

That didn’t stop his boss doing just that when he recommended implementing Leveson in full, just five hours after receiving the 2,000 page document.[…]


Kate Prank Call From “the Queen”

Luckily Brian Leveson is off to Oz so he can clamp down on this blagging of private information…[…]


Labour MP: Guido is “Witty and Well Written”

Guido cannot fault Jonathan Reynolds’ taste. The Labour MP told the House last night:

“Some of my favourite media sources are those that feature very different politics to mine. I like reading The Spectator and Guido Fawkes’s blog. I find them entertaining because they are witty and well written, and they do not simply mirror my own politics back at me.



Roy Greenslade on Media Accuracy

Roy Greenslade was giving his views on Leveson to his students today.  “Significant and reckless disregard for accuracy”? Well Guido can see one howler…

Via @HenryCTaylor


Labour Using Milly Dowler to Harvest Election Data

Tom Watson used the Labour Party mailing list to send out a characteristically dramatic email over the weekend, calling for the government to “implement the core recommendations” of the Leveson report:

“We will bring to bear every resource, call in every promise, rattle every skeleton in every cupboard.



The Celebrity Inquiry

Why was Leveson clapped earlier?

Mr Jay was even signing autographs…

Vid via Liar Politicians 


Leveson Damning of Piers Morgan

Worth noting that Leveson refrained from naming too many names and is was clearly keen to avoid making direct accusations. One person he didn’t hold back on though was good old Piers Morgan. While discussing Pier’s evidence Brian claimed:

“This was not, in any sense at all, a convincing answer.



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Quote of the Day

Trump jokes about media bias…

“The media is even more biased against me than ever before. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. It’s fantastic. They think she’s absolutely great. My Wife Melania gives the exact same speech! And people get on her case! And I don’t get it! I don’t know Why!”

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