Fallacious Arguments Regarding the Leveson Enquiry Recommendations

We should not make rash judgements and legislation based on a few bad cases.
The reality – this was not simply a case of a few bad apples within the media corporations. The problems were systemic and widespread, and often included the complicity of the people at the top of the news organizations, such as the chief editors for instance.

Introducing regulation would be a slippery slope to government controlled press.
The reality – the slippery slope argument could be applied to pretty much anything, including legislation itself. It could have been historically argued that introducing the law of the land was a slippery slope to the loss of individual freedom and human rights. The point of legislation in the first place is to balance the rights and freedoms of particular groups of individuals to the rights and freedoms of other groups of individuals. At the moment, with regards to the British media, that balance is missing.

The prevalence of social networking makes legislation pointless. It will not stop people tweeting their personal views.
The reality – there is perhaps an argument for introducing more regulation into social media. But the lack of current regulation should not be used as an excuse for not bothering to regulate the press. And it is highly questionable that a few tweets carry the same kind of authority as the British media.

People never believe what they read in the papers anyway.
The reality – despite the common argument that people do not believe what they read in the press, the reality is that the British media do have considerable gravitas and authority. I think it is difficult to maintain the argument that the British media do not influence peoples thinking. If this were not the case why did so many British politicians crawl over broken glass to ingratiate themselves with Rupert Murdoch?

It was legalities rather than ethics that were at the heart of the indiscretions of the media.
The reality – I think it was actually both.

Legislation which enforces press regulation equates to the loss of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which are vital to a well run democracy.
The reality – Absolute load of bollocks. Statutory regulation is not the loss of freedom of speech. Everyone agrees that self-regulation does not work, and that it needs to be replaced by independent regulation. However, regulation without enforcement is a pointless exercise. And the only way to enforce regulation is through legislation.

It will be just the same as the introduction of super-injunctions. It will simply be used by the wealthy.
The reality – this is an absolutely bonkers argument. Statutory regulation is nothing like super-injunctions.

Newspapers are in decline, so it is a problem that will go away on its own in time.
The reality – maybe, but it hasn’t gone away yet.

Celebrities who seek notoriety should accept this as one of the consequences of being famous.
The reality – not quite sure this ‘take the rough with the smooth’ kind of argument is really fair. But apart from directly affecting the celebrities it also affects the innocent families of the celebrities, including their children. And what about Milly Dowler, Christopher Jefferies, Kate and Gerry McCann etc. None of these people were celebrities.


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