Tag Archives: Leveson inquiry

Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

After a week off, Lord Leveson will resume his inquiry into press standards today. Today it is the turn of Chancellor George Osborne. Yesterday’s Observer revealed his meetings with Murdoch will be under scrutiny and we will learn how the Tories relationships developed with News Corp executives following private social gatherings and Swiss chalet parties attended by News Corp executives.

Over the weekend Toby Helm’s piece said that ‘Sources close to the chancellor insisted last night that it was complete rubbish “to suggest that any deal to secure Tory support for the bid had been done struck in the chalet as Osborne had not learnt that the bid was happening until well after the election.’

The Labour Party has suggested that it will call for a new system of independent regulation of the press.

What exactly will emerge as a result of the  inquiry remains to be seen, but any new system of regulation will have to be robust and have power’s to impose sanctions on anyone falling foul of the rules.

That said, a free and independent press is something Britain rightly prides itself on and that must remain the case, but with a proper system of independent regulation. You can read Toby Helm’s piece here.

Meanwhile with the Olympics just 46 days away, Brooke Magnanti- better known by her alias ‘Belle de Jour’, is supporting a campaign which has written to the Mayor of London addressing fears that police tactics are compromising the safety of sex workers. The letter believes the raids are part of a clean-up operation which target sex workers working in establishments across London in the run up to the Olympics.

Police tactics must be proportionate and this is a sensitive area of policing.  Vulnerable women must not be deterred from reporting crimes or from coming forward to seek help and support.

Support must always be the ultimate goal and outreach work must never be compromised. You can read the article in full here.

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Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Chaotic economic policies have caused a split among the coalition, Sunday Mirror’s Vincent Moss revealed yesterday. The revelations followed news from earlier in the week when it was announced Britain is now in a double dip recession.

A source revealed to the Sunday Mirror that ‘Mr Osborne was becoming ­increasingly isolated as he faced a torrent of criticism from both Tory ministers and senior Lib Dems.’

The source added: ‘Things are so bad right now; George could even get the blame for the rain.’ You can read the article in full here.

It was a bad week for the coalition in other areas too. The Leveson Inquiry dominated many of the headlines mid week when Rupert Murdoch gave his evidence to the inquiry and during this time questions arose over whether the  culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, may have broken the ministerial code in his handling of the News Corp bid for BSkyB.

If the story alone isn’t embarrassing enough for David Cameron then added to that embarrassment was the refusal by Lord Justice Leveson who made it clear to the government that the purpose of his inquiry was not to rule if the culture secretary had indeed breached his ministerial code.

 

This came after Cameron had suggested on Wednesday last week that the Leveson inquiry was the best forum in which to determine whether Hunt had handled the bid in a partisan manner.

There were also denials that the deputy prime minister had meddled in the inquiry and that he had asked the inquiry to bring forward the date of Hunts appearance so his case could be ‘fast tracked’. Leveson’s spokesman said that Hunt’s request to bring his evidence session forward had been turned down “in the interests of fairness to all”. You can read the full story here.

Marina Hyde offered insight into the historic week in which Rupert Murdoch spent a day and a half giving evidence to the inquiry. She suggested that Murdoch’s contempt for politicians was borne of the embarrassing ease with which he is able to persuade them to fawn over him. She recalls that he said: ‘”I wish they’d leave me alone,” he lamented of a succession of prime ministers during last year’s select committee testimony.’

Perhaps senior politicians have been guilty of this. But as we are now finding everyone gets held to account. Eventually.

 

 

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Murdoch’s Sun ate women’s dignity

Congratulations to campaigning MP (and fellow blogger) Tom Watson for exposing the bullying of women members of staff at the tabloid Sun.

According to Watson, Sun editor Dominic Mohan, told the Leveson enquiry “it is wrong to suggest that the Sun trivialises offences against women.”

Not so, says Watson, and I know who I believe. Watson tells us on his blog he has inside knowledge that at least five female journalists on the paper have been sacked in the last eight years. At least two of the sacked women went on to win compensation after challenging their dismissals. Two out of five strikes me as a high percentage and provides strong evidence of serious discrimination against female employees.

More recently, Whitehall editor at the Sun Clodagh Hartley had a complaint of bullying against her upheld by an independent adjudicator. This will, of course, be of great concern the beleaguered Mohan, who has a lot on his plate after the recent arrests of Mike Sullivan, the paper’s crime editor; the former managing editor, Graham Dudman; executive editor, Fergus Shanahan; and Chris Pharo, a news desk executive.

Appalling though this is, unfortunately it’s not the whole story. The Sun still publishes topless and virtually naked women on page three – a practice deeply disrespectful to women, which I believe should immediately be consigned to the scrapheap.  

The Sun is not just a newspaper, it’s theUK’s largest selling national daily with a circulation of 7,774,000. It’s our most popular newspaper and it behaves in a totally unacceptable way towards its female staff. It also publishes demeaning images of women.

I wholeheartedly agree with the four women’s groups – End Violence Against Women, Equality Now, Object and Eaves – who appeared before the Leveson inquiry arguing that the Sun should ban sexualised images which would not be shown on television before the 9.00pm watershed. As Former Labour MP Clare Short, who has campaigned against page three, said in the Guardian “The bottom line is that pictures that would not be permissible in the workplace or on broadcast media before the watershed can still be published in a daily newspaper.”

What is more, the newspaper reading public do not want page three, perhaps understanding how degrading it is to women. According to the Huffington Post, Platform 51, formerly the Young Women’s Christian Association, commissioned a nationally representative poll which showed that twice as many women would support a ban on pictures of topless women appearing in daily newspapers as would oppose it. And it’s not just women. Almost a third of the men questioned also supported a ban.

So it’s actually the Sun “wot ‘as got it wrong”.

Disrespect to women and actions such as bullying at work and publishing pictures of undressed women are no longer acceptable. Thankfully the world has moved on from the 1970s when the Sun introduced page three. It’s about time the Sun itself caught up with the modern world.  

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