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Leveson: A tiger with no teeth?

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Posted by Morning Star 9 July 2012

Professor Richard Lance Keeble, acting head of journalism at the University of Lincoln and author of Ethics for Journalists writes:The Leveson Inquiry is best understood as largely spectacular theatre, too trapped within the system it is attempting to reform to have any lasting effect. It is providing the illusion of moral intent by the state and its propaganda institutions - the leading media corporations - when in reality the system is run on ruthless profit-oriented principles.

Thus, Leveson's priorities and those of the mainstream media covering it have reflected dominant values and sourcing routines - celebrities, leading journalists, proprietors and politicians have dominated proceedings while “ordinary" people, such as the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, have been allowed to play their harrowing bit parts in the Great Leveson Theatre Show before being condemned to obscurity in the wings.
Revelations about the intimate, collusive links between politicians and Fleet Street are also all too predictable.

Such ties have long been analysed and documented by countless academics, and while politicians may wring their hands in guilt over being too intimate with the press in the past, Leveson is hardly likely to change this since newspapers remain far too closely integrated into the dominant structures of political, economic, cultural and ideological power.
Moreover, newspapers' ties to the intelligence services are as important as those to politicians, yet Leveson appears to have little interest in investigating these.
The Hutton Inquiry into the strange death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly had the opportunity to examine in some detail the links between hacks and spooks, but it but missed it.

Leveson is also predictably focusing too much on professional issues - such as the reform of press regulation and codes of conduct - and so far has shown little commitment to confronting the major determinant of media standards, namely the monopolistic structure of the industry.

DATELINE: 9 July, 2012


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