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Press Gang

Yesterday saw what seems to be a somewhat momentous change in the British press. A change that depending on who you listen to is either a great achievement or the first step on the path to “1984”

However despite all the hype, I have to be honest I’m confused as to what exactly HAS been agreed. As far as I can make out, there has been a “cross-party” agreement that a regulatory body will be set up, that has a royal charter, that the press can “choose” to sign up to, that means that they have to……

And this is where the real confusion comes in for me.

I’ve done some reasonable internet scouring (at least as much as tabloid journalist would) and as it stands the only two powers I can see that this body will have is to fine an offending newspaper/magazine etc (up to £1milion), or to force them to issue an apology.  

I can’t find anything that actually tells me what the regulations this regulator will be regulating are, In fact far as I can tell the industry itself will get to write its own code of conduct, which the regulator will then get to decide if they have breached .

So essentially we are going to let the kids choose their own bed time, decide whether or not they wish to stick to that bed time and if they don’t do it, ask them to say sorry or take away their pocket money!

Much has been made about this being an attack on the Free Press but im not entirely sure where that comes in?  

Cracking down on Shoddy reporting, sensationalism, fictional stories, miss informed twaddle and celebrity gossip mongering doesn’t in any seem like a bad thing to me, perhaps over the coming years I might actually get some news in my newspaper!

Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps every edition will be sent to this regulatory body for review before hitting the printing press’s with swaths of it redacted or removed, but I find it more likely they can still publish what they want, when they want, how they want and as often as they want, it’s just that should they fail to do so within the agreed code of conduct they might get a slap on the wrist for it.

To me the entire thing is yet another PR stunt, much like the reduction (then increase) in VAT, the minimum price alcohol unit and the EU referendum, the Government rolling out yet another “policy” pandering to the “masses” that has no teeth, no real worth and won’t come into effect until a new Government is in power so when it doesn’t work it can all be blamed on their predecessor.

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