What the Leveson inquiry can teach us in East Devon – Part 2

30 Nov

Quote from the Leveson inquiry in today’s Guardian regarding the relationship between politicians and the press – substitute as you see appropriate.

“For 35 years and probably much longer, politicians have got too close to the press in a way which has not been in the public interest.  This has involved putting themselves in positions where they were vulnerable to unaccountable influences, overlooking chances to address public concern about press conduct and seeking to control, if not manipulate, information in return for favourable treatment.

There is, of course, no evidence at all of explicit, covert deals between senior politicians and newspaper proprietors or editors … these very powerful relationships are more subtle than that.  But there can be no doubt, Leveson says, that there have been exchanges of inflence that raise legitimate questions.  On the subject of Rupert Murdoch’s dealings with Prime Ministers, Leveson said he had found no evidence of express deals with politicians but added in a rather waspish paragraph: Sometimes the very greatest power is exercised without having to ask … Just as Mr Murdoch’s editors knew the basic ground rules, so did politicians.  In their discussions with him, whether directly or by proxy, politicians knew the prize was personal and political support of his mass circulation newspapers.

The report recommends greater transparency about dealings with the press.”

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