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Was this trial by media?


Cymro.

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So what happened to innocent till proven guilty?

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Forum Editor

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johndrew

"Are you suggesting that any press report should be above the law or that normal good standards that would be applied by any right minded person should not apply?"

Of course I'm not suggesting that the press should be above the law, and I didn't say anything that would lead you to think it, so why ask? As for the "normal good standards" that would be applied by "any right minded person", those are meaningless phrases; who decides what standards are 'normal' or what a 'right minded person' would do in a publishing context?

You talk of 'control over unruly behaviour' as if the PCC was looking after a class full of schoolchildren, but that's not the function of a Press Watchdog. A free press is an absolute prerequisite of a truly democratic society - you can't have a democracy without it. Journalists should be subject to the same laws as everyone else, and when they break the law they should be prosecuted.

Where newspapers are a special case is in the way that they have the power to influence public opinion, and the ability to use that power in a corrupt way, should they choose to do so. That's the context in which a Press Complaints Commission can operate for the public good, but newspapers must agree to abide by a code for it to work. Legislating in order to discipline newspapers for anything other than law-breaking is an extremely dangerous road to travel, for it can indeed lead to a form of censorship of the press, and we should all hope to avoid that happening.

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johndrew

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FE

".. meaningless phrases .."

They may be meaningless to you, but in the same way you appear to consider the press to act unlike "a class full of schoolchildren", there are both well behaved and poorly behaved classes. There are times when the press acts very much like an ill mannered and uncontrolled child and when it ignores a basic right - in this case to be innocent until proven guilty - then it needs to be constrained.

I feel certain you would feel aggrieved if serious allegations were made against you with little foundation and the press effectively convicted you publicly long before you were even charged let alone convicted.

Yes a free press is all important but so is a responsible press that does not repeatedly use sensationalism. As you said yourself, above, "The assumption of innocence isn't much good when the media decide to take a little information and weave a fanciful story from it." Such actions are a clear indicator that, "normal good standards" as applied by, "any right minded person" are not being complied with and the press is acting much like a class of unruly schoolchildren who need reigning in.

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