Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Let's hope Ivan's shooting political seagulls rather than regulating journalists

Just reading through the text of Ivan Lewis's speech to the Labour party conference earlier today.

This is the section that is upsetting the journalism twitterati with his suggestion that journalists should be regulated

It was brilliant investigative journalism primarily by the Guardian which forced a reopening of the police investigation when too many vested interests simply hoped it would go away. But with freedom also comes responsibility. Neither the current broken system of self regulation or state oversight will achieve the right balance. We need a new system of independent regulation including proper like for like redress which means mistakes and falsehoods on the front page receive apologies and retraction on the front page. And as in other professions the industry should consider whether people guilty of gross malpractice should be struck off.

It is difficult to understand just how this would work in the internet age.I hope that this was a sop to the party faithful over Murdoch rather than any upping of the game on journalism

I totally agree with Alex Massie who writes on the practicalities

too many trades are licensed as it is. There comes a point at which occupational licensing ceases to offer guarantees to consumers and becomes instead a cute for of restraining trade, protecting those already inside at the expense of those who would like to make a living and, not at all coincidentally, saying to hell with the consumer's interests. It rewards and cossets privilege

Whilst Helen Lewis-Hasteley also makes the point that

You can strike off doctors because they have specific professional qualifications (and they perform specific professional duties, e.g. prescribing medicines). There are no professional qualifications required to become a journalist, despite the best efforts of several postgraduate courses to imply there are.

The step of regulating journalists with the power to take accreditation away is one small step towards totalitarianism.Hopefully this will not make it into Mr Miliband's review of policy.

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