The Liberal Democrats and Labour have forced David Cameron’s hand and moved the UK closer than ever before to State-controlled media.
A Royal Charter has been “agreed” between all three main parties to establish an independent regulator of the press and also blogs hosted in the United Kingdom. Unlike the Press Complaints Commission, it will be underpinned by law despite what the political parties will try and tell you.
This is because the Royal Charter will be fixed in stone unless two thirds of parliament (no easy feat) vote to revise the rules governing the new regulator.
The Royal Charter will allow the regulator to investigate newspapers and blogs, impose fines and issue directives to the press such as where to print an apology.
All in all this is a bad day for democracy in the UK. A free press needs to be just that: free. This does not mean it should operate above the law. Hacking mobile phones is already a criminal offence and prosecutions are ongoing: expect more prison sentences.
The only reason we are having this debate at all is because of a collection of Left-wing pressure groups, like Hacked Off, who have infiltrated Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, and who are ideological opposed to freedom and believe the State should control the masses, which first and foremost means getting hold of the media.
The fact Hacked Off welcomed the “cross-party” agreement this afternoon is very worrying and suggests they have had significant influence in drawing up the Lab-Lib Dem version of the Royal Charter.
It is also becoming clear David Cameron has been railroaded into accepting the terms of the Liberal Democrats and Labour despite promising there would be no “statutory underpinning”.