Is compulsory regulation of the print media compatible with Article 10 ECHR? – Hugh Tomlinson QC

One of the possibilities being considered by Lord Justice Leveson as he writes the Report for Part 1 of his Inquiry is whether there should be compulsory regulation of the print media.   One, widely discussed possibility is a statutory framework which would require any publisher with turnover or readership above a set threshold to join a “regulatory body”: compulsory regulation for large publishers. 

The purpose of such a provision would be to  deal with the so-called “Desmond problem” – the anomaly of a system of regulation which does not cover all the large newspaper publishers. But an important freedom of expression question arises: is the compulsory regulation of the print media compatible with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights?  This is not a question which has ever been considered by the Court of Human Rights and the answer may not be an entirely straightforward.

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Leveson goes live


Updated |Today marks a minor landmark for open justice. For the first time, a public inquiry is being  shown live over the internet.

The Leveson Inquiry into Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press has taken over Court 73 in the Royal Courts of Justice, so when Counsel to the Inquiry Robert Jay QC begins his cross examination, you could even imagine you are watching a live trial – on that note, watch this space.

The Iraq (Chilcott) Inquiry was broadcast live but it was not a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, as Leveson’s is. The Inquiry’s website has been relaunched and will be hosting the live stream of hearings on this page. My only grumbles about the new website are that the live coverage should be more prominently advertised on the main page.

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