i Editor's Letter: The British press is better when looking outwards


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The Independent Online


The executive summary of the 1987-page Leveson Report runs to 46 pages itself. Imagine if the good Lord Justice were trying to edit an average day’s i, along with the rest of the day’s news!

We have tried to precis it to a length of interest to you – not forgetting it should not take up more space than we would give other major stories: be they the riots, US elections or overthrow of Arab tyrants. The press is better looking outwards. Overnight, lest we forget, the UN has voted on the status of Palestine.

In today’s i you will find the report digested and analysed,  plus the views of an editor, a regulator, a politician and a victim.

My view? I am proud to be a journalist. But, the past couple of years have seen my trade called into disrepute more than at any other time in my working life. It was regrettable that the Prime Minister saw fit in a moment of personal difficulty to call the inquiry in the first place, and that it subsequently moved so far away from phone-hacking. But you might disagree with me.

As Leveson said pointedly, this is the seventh report into the press in 70 years. 20 years ago we were “drinking in the last chance saloon”. To put it bluntly, with our cherished freedom comes a responsibility not to abuse it.

As such, Leveson’s verdict could have been so much worse. The Independent and i accept its findings. Much of the subsequent chatter will hinge on the chosen interpretation of “self-regulation with statutory under-pinning”. Let’s chew over it, get your feedback, analyse that and then move on, bluntly, to matters of more importance to you.