Readers should ignore your advice and support both the second Leveson inquiry into press wrongdoing and the section 40 provisions that will discourage overmighty newspapers from telling lies about individuals who dare not defend themselves for fear of financial ruin.
Consultation runs until January 10, and this is the link: https://www.research.net/r/9WH5LV3. If you cannot make that date, write to your MP asking that they support these measures.
Almost every part of your argument is misleading. You describe Hacked Off, who represent victims of intrusion and crime, as a “pressure group”, when it is newspapers and their unaccountable owners and management, representing only their own interest, who exert the most damaging pressure.
You demand your right to force individual victims of press malice to pit their limited means against your deep pockets, but yourself plead poverty when simply by using an approved regulator – which you could set up yourself – you could minimise the costs for both parties.
You claim that few reputable titles use the approved IMPRESS regulator, but titles such as the Financial Times, Independent and Guardian will have nothing to do with your unapproved alternative IPSO.
Worst of all, you want to stifle further inquiry into criminal and corrupt behaviour by stopping Leveson half way, on the flimsy excuse that a handful of criminal trials is enough.
As cases are prosecuted only when there is a realistic chance of conviction, only one aspect of the tip of a large and menacing iceberg has been viewed.
There has been law-breaking from which newspaper owners and managers have benefited without being held to account, as well as improper conduct that perhaps should be made unlawful. This must be fully and openly examined.
Five inquiries between 1947 and 1993 concluded that the press failed to regulate its own behaviour.
In 1990, the Calcutt Inquiry concluded that the press should be given “one final chance to prove that voluntary self-regulation can be made to work”.
Now, 26 years later you still drag your feet, and your excuses show the very same distortions that have given the British press the bad name that it has earned.
J Robin Hughes
Towngate Road, Worrall, Sheffield, S35