It’s a ransom.
As a media organisation, if you breach the terms and not volunteer to be regulated then you pay £1m.; if you volunteer and breach, you pay a lot less.
-So, a flaw is that the big media groups can get away with breeching and perhaps even set up a pot, as part of their operational costs, called “breaching fines”. Unfortunately, for smaller media groups this might twist their arm and force them into signing up to a regulator as they cannot afford the fines. Nick Clegg highlighted yesterday in the HofC that local papers are vulnerable and have not been the cause in previous breaches. Yet, the Royal Charter does not separate media based on micro and macro.
The whole specification puts emphasis on the independent body that seeks, employs and monitors the regulators.
Specifically I have picked an example of a tongue twister - Pam Ayres would be proud of this one - that sums up this point: Schedule 1 - 2.1 says, “…Commissioner for Public Appointments shall appoint the Appointments Committee…” and all that jazz. There are so many appointing appointees that the point is lost (my attempt at a ditty). As I explain:
-Anyone who thinks that there will be freedom should consider this point. The amount of red tape and quango-esque approach to setting up and refining a regulator only fortifies the wall of censorship. Why are so many boards, committees and bodies (which did confuse me a bit when reading) established to find a regulator? These quangos are only established to get people into work and pen-push; the more people, the more subjectivity is brought into regulating and seeking a regulator - which, of course, hinders freedom of speech since subjectivity offers a polemical analysis whether that be in media or obtaining the right employee to regulate the press.
The first point of schedule 3 states the “…Chair and members of the Board must be appointed in a genuinely open, transparent and independent way, without any influence from industry or Government.”
-Getting a job as a regulator or establishing a regulator or establishing the establisher who establish a regulator looks easy since most people lose out on applying for jobs to others who suck cock or rely upon daddy to talk to his boss. Well, good news, not these jobs!
“The board of the Recognition Panel shall from time to time publish policies, guidance and information, as it thinks appropriate…”
-This might be nitpicking but it seems very woolly to say they can from “time to time” and only if they “think” necessary to work . If this is serious there needs to definitive decisions with a strict timetable to publish information regardless of the how much content or how serious claims are made - if any. Public money is not going towards them twiddling their thumbs or going “hhm, maybe we could do that”.
Point 8 of Schedule 3 is the about importance of freedom of speech - the point the conservatives wanted.
-This is contradicted, however, with 8B 8C and 8D with 8A concerning an unwelcome of “press intrusion” that will surely keep a smile on Max Mosley’s mush: you can play with your anal beads in quiet now, Max.
-Point 8B states that any material published by “subscribers will be held strictly accountable”. Mao Tse Tung had this point for China, didn’t he? I think it’s the word “strictly” that frightens the “subscriber”.
Point 15 puts emphasis on “publication of corrections and apologies”
-The media already do this.
Point 16 emphasise that if there is no settlement between subscriber and complainant then the apology rests with the Board.
-If the media exercise their right not to issue an apology surely this undermines the Board if they are having to apologise all the time. The knowledge that the Board will be held accountable for the apology could render the media impenetrable to offer a sorry - this point could actually be the thin end of the wedge for Boards if keep apologising.
Point 17 says that material cannot be prevented from publishing.
-Fuck’s sake. What is the point in having a Board if the material has been released. The damage will have been done if it’s in the public’s hands!
Milton opposed it, and Orwell opposed it: two goliaths of Literature with the former’s radical work opposing a wide established pious mindset and the latter’s name becoming an adjective for the censorship and control of the State. This regulation does not serve to tell us fresh stories or stories we are entitled to know. The recent Leveson debate has been a learning curve and helped seek out the rats of Fleet Street. In the past we have dealt with mendacious little twats who pour shite hournalism in the papers; we’ve seen in the past journalists fired (take the gobshite Piers Morgan in 2004) or heavily fined.
The Royal Charter’s bulwark is a step too far and needs ironing of its flaws if it’s to be concrete.
That’s my summary. I have not volunteered to have a regulator so don’t start complaining otherwise I’m going to have to rack up a £1m.