After Lord Leveson’s inquiry into the unscrupulous actions taken by certain UK tabloids, the Leveson Regulations was proposed in order to regulate print media and stop things like the phone-hacking of missing teenagers and suchlike from happening again. Lord Leveson proposed that judges should be allowed to award exemplary damages and full costs to unregulated publishers.
Leveson’s proposals are strict and controversial, but the Open Rights Group (ORG) states; “he only envisaged them applying to large and powerful publishers. Not websites, unless they belonged to print publishers.”
The ORG are calling on the public to sign their petition which sends emails to PM David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Harriet Harmon as well as the person’s own MP to make sure that Leveson’s proposal does not apply to websites (unless they belong to print publishers) and bloggers as the consequences would be extreme and detrimental to the freedom of expression.
The ORG states that Leveson’s proposals were hurriedly agreed last weekend without any public consultation and little attention was paid to the detail that would see every size of web publisher bunched together and subject to the same stringent regulations. This means that any web publisher that has more than one author, where content is edited and a business is involved must join a self regulator.
“The threat of websites being regulated like this was never the purpose of Lord Leveson’s recommendations. Websites weren’t involved in phone hacking. There is no evidence that they need to be forced into self-regulation like this.”
If these regulations are passed, they would end up bracketing bloggers, website writers and other internet users in with newspapers and exposing them to threats of arbitration. This means that they could end up having to pay huge, crippling legal costs and “exemplary damages” – which are large statutory fines that could greatly exceed any actual harm caused.
There are 3 days until Leveson’s regulations become law, which is why the ORG has started this campaign and is pushing people to sign up to make sure that the internet and its users do not become “collateral damage” in the war against Britain’s many unscrupulous tabloids.
The ORG campaign states;
“The Leveson regulations are being applied to UK websites — in ways that could catch more or less anyone who publishes a blog. Ordinary bloggers could be threatened with exemplary damages and costs. If this happens, small website publishers will face terrible risks, or burdensome regulation — and many may simply stop publishing.”