J. K. Rowling Discusses David Cameron’s Reaction to the Leveson Inquiry

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Nov 30, 2012

Posted by John Admin

The Guardian has posted an essay by J. K. Rowling regarding UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to reject the Leveson proposal to regulate the news media. Rowling and other victims of the press participated in the Leveson Inquiry in 2011 to assess the ethics of the British press, following a phone hacking scandal. You can read Rowling’s response here or below.

I am alarmed and dismayed that the prime minister appears to be backing away from assurances he made at the outset of the Leveson inquiry.

I thought long and hard about the possible consequences to my family of giving evidence and finally decided to do so because I have made every possible attempt to protect my children’s privacy under the present system ’ and failed. If I, who can afford the very best lawyers, cannot guarantee the privacy of those dearest to me, what hope did the Dowlers, the McCanns and the Watsons ever have of protecting their own children and their own good names? Those who have suffered the worst, most painful and least justifiable kinds of mistreatment at the hands of the press, people who have become newsworthy because of the press’s own errors or through unspeakable private tragedy, are those least likely to be able to defend themselves or to seek proper redress.

My understanding is that Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations would give everybody, whatever their degree of celebrity or their bank balance, a quick, cheap and effective way of holding the press to account. They would also protect the press against frivolous complaints and reduce costly lawsuits. At the moment, only those of us who can afford the immensely expensive, time-consuming and stressful services of the legal system are able to take a stand against serious invasions of privacy, and even this offers little or no protection against the unjustified, insidious and often covert practices highlighted by the Leveson inquiry.

Without statutory underpinning Leveson’s recommendations will not work: we will be left with yet another voluntary system from which the press can walk away. If the prime minister did not wish to change the regulatory system, even to the moderate, balanced and proportionate extent proposed by Lord Justice Leveson, I am at a loss to understand why so much public money has been spent and why so many people have been asked to relive extremely painful episodes on the stand in front of millions. Having taken David Cameron’s assurances in good faith at the outset of the inquiry he set up, I am merely one among many who feel duped and angry in its wake.

I hope that those who share similar concerns will speak up now and sign the Hacked Off petition. Cameron said that he would implement sensible recommendations: it is time for him to honour that commitment and join the other political leaders by supporting the Leveson recommendations in their entirety.”

Many thanks to Pete for the tip!





13 Responses to J. K. Rowling Discusses David Cameron’s Reaction to the Leveson Inquiry

Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: Politicians... ya gotta love 'em! o.0Avatar ImageMimblewimble13 says: Watch carefully how they do this in the UK, because it will become a template for the left in the U.S. to take away freedom of the press. I wish I could say I was surprised and disappointed at JKR's stance on this, but she has made no secret of her leftism. She has a beautiful imagination and I love her books, but I want her nowhere near public policy.Avatar Imagesilverkacy says: I agree with Mimblewimble13. I love Jo to death, but I hate her political views.Avatar Imageteamtonks says: Oh how I hate politics. I don't even bother voting. The political system here in England is just shambolic...Avatar ImageWeenyOwl says: Being left-of-center does not in any way imply support for suppression of freedom of the press, Mimblewimble13. I'm sure that many people in the US would characterize the American Civil Liberties Union, probably the country's most extreme advocate of First Amendment rights, as a 'leftist' organization! I can understand JKR's feelings on this, since she obviously has been burned by the British tabloids' utter disregard for people's privacy, especially under the Rupert Murdoch regime. But any attempt to regulate the media has to be done very, very carefully indeed. There are areas like the proliferation of kiddie porn and the use of the Internet for human trafficking where legal limits on 'freedom of the press' are defensible and necessary, but beyond them lies a slippery slope toward government control of ideas.Avatar Imagekiwimci says: I think it's ridiculous for some to doubt Jo's views on this! This has nothing to do with "taking away the freedom of the press" and that is such a glib and poor response to what the Leveson inquiry was actually about. It's to create a regulatory body to make the press accountable for deeply unethical practices. I stand behind Jo 100% and the way some of the press has behaved and the insidious, disgusting practices they have taken in the name of what is in the public interest is completely shambolic. Hacking the phone of a dead girl, giving her parents false hope, condemning the innocent and JK's children aren't even safe. The way in which they have the police in their back pockets so no one ever becomes accountable and allegations go nowhere. Laws, such as taking unsolicited pictures of minors, don't seem to apply for the press as they do for lesser mortals such as myself. Don't even get me started on David Cameron, who backed the inquiry at the beginning to take the heat off his own back. I knew he'd do this, such a gutless man. Clearly an act of self preservation. Leveson fully respects the freedom of the press (as does Jo I'm sure) and nothing in his report contradicts this - "With these rights, however, come responsibilities to the public interest: to respect the truth, to obey the law and to uphold the rights and liberties of individuals." This is the basis of the report. Press ethics upon the public. So please consider this before you brand J.K. Rowling as some kind of demented commie dictator (since when did leaning to the left have anything to do with taking away free speech anyway?!)Avatar ImageBeazle says: I love her Potter stories but JKR is politically so far left of centre as to be at the Bill Ayres level. Thats what made her recent novel so excruciating. The Leverson Report is in fact, a poorly reasoned attack on the freedom of the press and would not be countenanced in the US -not least because of the first amendment. Thankfully, here in the UK, the Report is being roundly condemned so Jo and her celebrity luvvies and go back to another Koobyah cause.Avatar Imagemoglet says: If you have seen the dreadful intrusions made by the press, including things which were actually illegal, in order to obtain information, then you'd see that a bit of regulation from an independant source, which makes them more accountable for this sort of thing, can't be a bad thing. Allowing the press to regulate themselves has not worked for many of the tabloids in particular, I don't want freedom of the press removed, but they should be held accountable for the gross intrusion on people's lives that they have been responsible for. I'm not talking about celebrities either, some of the press have behaved in a thoroughly intrusive way towards private individuals who have had tragedies in their lives, such as the family of the murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler, and also the parents of the missing child Madeleine McCann who were demonised in some sections of the press. Jo is entitled to her opinion, she is merely saying that since a lot of money was spent on the Leveson inquiry is seems ridiculous to ignore the findings of the report, it's not asking for draconian measures, just a sensible balanced approach, it's not fair to start calling her names for having an opinion on an important subject like this.Avatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: Quite right, Moglet. I am baffled by people who reckon they love JKR's stories but hate her politics. Her political views (in the broad sense, of a view of society, not in the party sense) are at the heart of everything she writes. For me, another reason to love her work.Avatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: Oh, and well said, KiwiMci. This has nothing to do with the freedom of the press. If the tabloids were interested in doing serious journalism, where were the exposés of Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith while they were alive? They have no interest in exposing wrongdoing by the powerful, just harassing and demonizing those they think won't fight back.Avatar ImageAtticus says: Just want to add another message saying not to hate on JKR for this. She's absolutely right. This has nothing to do with removing freedom of the pres, this has to do with the press -obeying the law-. When they were hacking into people's phones and shaking hands with politicians with ulterior motives they were performing criminal acts. What News International did was disgusting - especially in the case of Millie Dowler and her parents. I'm glad to see JKR speaking out about this and her experiences with the case. Peace.Avatar ImageAtticus says: Just want to add another message saying not to hate on JKR for this. She's absolutely right. This has nothing to do with removing freedom of the pres, this has to do with the press -obeying the law-. When they were hacking into people's phones and shaking hands with politicians with ulterior motives they were performing criminal acts. What News International did was disgusting - especially in the case of Millie Dowler and her parents. I'm glad to see JKR speaking out about this and her experiences with the case. Peace.Avatar Imagedevilskinn says: Je suis libre d'agir à ma guise, mais dans la mesure seulement où je n'empiète pas sur la liberté des autres. - Sartre

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