While the kick off point of the Leveson Report was the hacking of celebrities phones, the final solution to the problem seems to be shrouded in a cloud of uncertainty and contradiction. KitGuru ponders life behind bars for those found to be on the wrong side of at least one law.
Lord Justice Leveson’s report specifically ruled out trying to govern internet-only sites on the basis that many of them are one man blogging outfits, so going after them would amount to an attack on one person’s point of view – which contradicts the idea of a society which cherishes free speech.
At the other end of the scale, printed publications could find themselves in a world of grief of they step outside their bounds.
No matter what you think about press freedom, it’s a case of so far, so good as far as ‘understandability’ goes.
Enter the Royal Charter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (by the grace of god etc). It has a completely different definition. It specifically states that websites should be regulated if they comment on the news.
Exact wording for the Bill arising from the Leveson Report will be made clear at the start of next week, but an analysis from the BBC of the various legislation being prepared at the moment indicates that a website can be lined up and shot if it has:-
- Multiple Authors
- Editors who control content
- Procedures that mean it runs like a newspaper
Guilty as charged your honour.
For the most part, KitGuru can’t imagine the Labs doors being blown open at 3 in the morning while heavily armed guards lock us in dungeons/towers for a very long time.
That said, the kind of politically-sensitive commentary we generate around privacy, security and freedom issues could single us out for special treatment at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
We are not the only ones to be confused about what is to happen next. Culture Secretary Maria Miller has gone on record as saying (a) she wants the million pound fines etc laid out in Leveson’s report, but (b) she does not want to accept Leveson’s limitations on who that might apply to. All the time sounding, on camera, as if she is talking about a single thing (Leveson Report + Royal Charter) – which unfortunately does not exist.
KitGuru says: Leveson had no intention of punishing online publications, while the Queen’s charter specifically puts sites like KitGuru into the ‘monitor closely’ category. Given that Leveson was chosen to set up an inquiry and recommend positive action, we like the idea of following his well-researched advice.
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