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In announcing the conclusions of his long running enquiry, Lord Justice Leveson highlighted the way in which public revulsion over phone hacking had expanded into “A Report into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press.”
Whilst politicians and representatives of the media now consult on the best way to implement the recommendations, it is worth noting that this is the seventh report on press standards in less than seventy years. On the positive side Lord Justice Leveson said that the British Press “serves the country very well for the vast majority of the time” and that “the press, operating freely and in the public interest, is one of the true safeguards of our democracy.”
However, Lord Justice Leveson warned that the privileged and powerful place which the press has within our society carries with it responsibilities to the public interest and he concluded that “unfortunately, as the evidence has shown beyond doubt, on too many occasions, those responsibilities (along with the Editors’ Code which the press wrote and promoted) have simply been ignored.”
In his recommendations Lord Justice Leveson talks about “high Standards,” the “public interest” and the “rights and liberties of individuals.” These are reminders, not just for the press but for all organisations, of the importance of maintaining good culture and ethics in business and the report should act as a reminder to all of us of what can happen when standards slip.