Press standard's in the UK appeared to have gone to the dogs. The fine line between getting a good story and infringing people's rights was crossed more often than not. In July 2011 UK PM David Cameron ordered an inquiry into allegations of sleaze and corruption.
Cameron had held out against calls for an investigation for some time. Whilst he will have clapped his hands with glee at the prospect of mud hitting Labour politicians he knew that some was bound to come his way.
He had employed former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, as Communications Chief for Number 10. He had done so against the advice of others. When Coulson was forced to resign Cameron had to know that his reputation could also become sullied.
The Chipping Norton set which included Cameron, Coulson and Rebekah Brookes, recently arrested and charged in connection with NotW, was not healthy. It appeared to show that Cameron and his buddies were all much of a muchness. Inevitably though Cameron had to take his chance and The Leveson Inquiry began.
For the last few of months the media in the UK has reported on the inquiry. World media may have done so also but in the UK at times it has been almost rolling reports from the inquiry.
According to the Leveson Inquiry website, "Lord Justice Leveson was appointed as Chairman of the Inquiry. The first part will examine the culture, practices and ethics of the media. In particular, Lord Justice Leveson will examine the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians. He is assisted by a panel of six independent assessors with expertise in key issues being considered by the Inquiry.
The Inquiry has been established under the Inquiries Act 2005 and has the power to summon witnesses. It is expected that a range of witnesses, including newspaper reporters, management, proprietors, police officers and politicians of all parties will give evidence under oath and in public.
It will make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards.
Lord Justice Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”
One wonders if this last statement applies to our beloved politicians also?
A succession of politicians have appeared before the inquiry including former PM Tony Blair, current PM David Cameron and Government Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. What the inquiry has revealed is that many of our politicians are far from untarnished. In the case of Hunt many people were left feeling that his reputation was more than a little tarnished yet Cameron has come out in support of Hunt.
In many ways the Leveson Inquiry leaves us baffled. How much is it costing? What will it actually achieve? Is it simply aimed at hitting enemies and protecting allies? Is it simply paying lip service to the people? After all it appears as if Cameron is still comfortable supporting a Minister who most ordinary people feel has "cheated".
When Business Secretary Vince Cable appeared to be hostile against Rupert Murdoch, even before the official launch of Murdoch's BSkyB bid, Cable was unceremoniously removed. Hunt however was able to act in a biased manner but positively in favour of Murdoch and was approved. No matter how much talking Hunt does the evidence speaks for itself.
Yes, media standards must be improved to prevent press intrusion on the scale of phone hacking. Yes paying police officers for information must be stopped. But yes those politicians found to be tarnished should be removed. This current Tory Coalition is proving to be much more than simply tarnished, its principles have rusted away.
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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