Tuesday, January 24, 2012

English PEN warns Leveson against state regulation

English PEN Bulletin

English PEN warns Leveson against state regulation

Heawood: 'We would rather live in a noisy, open society than a quiet and over regulated one.'

Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, English PEN Director Jonathan Heawood today argued strongly against moves towards statutory press regulation, describing proposed co-regulation as a veiled form of statutory regulation, that is subject to political influence.

He urged immediate reform of libel law and a review of privacy law, saying: 'It is essential that the underlying law is right, and that it is accessible to all, not just those with the largest chequebooks.'

Heawood cautioned against focusing too much on regulation as the panacea to all problems. He noted that the media industry is changing rapidly and that some publishers may choose to stay outside the regulator. 'We shouldn't try to regulate the stable door after the horse has bolted,' he warned.

Read more...English PEN's written submission to the Leveson Inquiry was submitted in November and is available to view online here. 
View a summary of the key points of English PEN's evidence session on Storify. 
Jonathan Heawood was giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry with John Kampfner, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship.  A full transcript of their evidence will be published on the Leveson Inquiry website. 
English PEN is part of the Libel Reform Campaign, together with Index on Censorship and Sense About Science.  The campaign calls for major reform of England & Wales's outdated libel laws, as well as reforms to procedures and legal costs.  Visit www.libelreform.org to sign up to the campaign. 
mailing address is: 
English PEN
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road
London, Eng EC1R 3GA

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