Alex Andreou, who used to work for an industry regulator, is not impressed by the hysterical response of the British press to Leveson’s prescription.
The Leveson report did not arise out of someone getting up one fine morning and thinking “I know what I’ll do today; curtail the freedom of the press”. It sprung forth from an industry’s repeated and miserable failure to regulate itself. It is a direct result of an industry’s totally out-of-control behaviour.
In my many years work for a regulator, I never once sat across the table from an industry facing any kind of change in the rules that hasn’t claimed this would bring about the death of said industry and/or the demise of western civilization as we know it. In my experience, this is usually a knee-jerk reaction with little logic behind it.
One thing I can tell you with certainty is that the market players that come out best, are invariably the ones that are first to concede a change is needed, embrace it and work with the body seeking to regulate them to ensure it is well crafted.
This brings me to my most contentious and most positive point: The Leveson recommendations may be the best thing that has ever happened to this industry.
Spot on. Taken as a whole (there are a few exceptions) the British newspaper business has been one of the worst-managed industries in the industrial world. Its response to Leveson confirms that.