Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight, Andrew Turner, has praised the evidence given to the Leveson Enquiry yesterday by the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP.
Lord Leveson is conducting an enquiry into press ethics following the phone hacking scandal. Mr Gove gave his view that introducing new rules which would limit the freedom of journalists to report and comment on news stories could be a cure that might be worse than the disease. Before being elected to Parliament in 2005, Mr Gove was a leading Times journalist and leader writer for ten years.
He went on to say:
“We should think carefully about the effects of regulation in the same way as a legislator thinks … is this legislation necessary or proportionate? Is it the right remedy for the particular problem that’s been identified? And I’m unashamedly on the side of those who say that we should think very carefully before legislation and regulation because the cry ‘Something must be done’ often leads to people doing something which isn’t always wise.”
Mr Turner (pictured) said this morning:
“I have known Michael Gove for many years, both as a leading journalist and of course now as a prominent politician, and I share his views. Lord Leveson should reflect carefully on what Michael says as he has real, first-hand experience of both worlds. Those in public life sometimes don’t like what the press publish, but that doesn’t mean their right to say it should be taken away. Politicians should always stand up for a free press – even when it may be uncomfortable. The phone-hacking scandal was terrible; we can all agree about that – but limiting the freedom of the press because of what some bad apples have done would be an over-reaction and quite wrong.
“The freedom of the press and the right to freedom of expression are ancient rights and very precious to our democracy; they must not be lost. If those rights are not upheld the public’s right to be informed about how they are governed and what is being done in their name will also be lost, and quite simply that would be a disaster for our society and for all of us.”
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