‘Leveson Report Fails to Rip Open What Interests Public Press Serves and Why’

‘It is an Exercise to Assuage Public Outrage over Murdoch’s Misdeeds’

The submission of a 2000 page report by Lord Justice Leveson (UK) in November 2012 once again spurred debate on the role of public press. Reports, editorial comments and articles appeared on the issue. However, the debate remained within the narrow confines of individual freedom vis-à-vis news behemoths, rather than investigating the role of the public press in the larger context of social relations. The Leveson Inquiry was set up after the public outcry at the criminal misdeeds of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World (NoW), particularly its hacking of the phone of a dead schoolgirl, 13 year old Milly Dowler. Other similar cases of excesses like in the case of 3 year old Madeleine McCann, had aroused sharp public outrage. The Report dealt in detail with the practices of NoW as well as the
questions related to the public press in general. However, the Report, while recording some of the disturbing trends of reporting, did not go into its causes and obviously did not suggest any remedy for the same.

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