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The Counter-Leveson Inquiry

Wednesday 29 February 2012
Why we’re launching the Counter-Leveson Inquiry
by spiked editor Brendan O’Neill

On Monday, in his opening remarks at the second part of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, Lord Justice Leveson said he found ‘publicly expressed concerns’ about the inquiry ‘troubling’. Well, m’lud, you had better prepare to be further troubled. For today, spiked launches the Counter-Leveson Inquiry, an intellectual two-fingered salute to the creeping conformism and censoriousness being unleashed by the Leveson process.

The most remarkable thing about Leveson’s admission to feeling troubled by public criticisms is that, sadly, there has been very little public criticism of his showtrial of the tabloids. You could count on one hand, or at a stretch two hands, the number of journalists and politicians who have dared to question the right of one judge to marshal celebrities and coppers to the cause of redefining the ethics of the press.

It is alarming that, in a country where the poet John Milton demanded freedom of the press more than 350 years ago, and where many other writers and activists subsequently fought tooth-and-catapult to expel state forces from the worlds of writing and publishing, so many should now acquiesce to an inquiry which gives a judge and his chums the power to tell the media what its morals should be. The conformism amongst the targets of the inquiry – that is, the press – is even more shocking than the cockiness of the organisers of it, those figures of authority who seem to have forgotten that the press is supposed to investigate them, not vice versa.

This is about to change. spiked has been raising concerns about the likely consequences of the crusade against ‘unethical’ tabloids since before Leveson was set up, and we have continually criticised the Leveson process for creating a censorious climate in the here and now, even before its recommendations have been made. And now we plan to gather together our arguments, and intensify them, in a Counter-Leveson Inquiry which will put the case against Leveson, against judges and police getting to tell the press what its ethics should be, and against any stricture whatsoever on the right of the press, whether highbrow or low-rent, to investigate and publish what it sees fit.

Why? Not because we hold a candle for tabloid newspapers, but because we carry a torch for press freedom, because we believe that Milton’s rallying cry is as fitting today as it was in 1644: ‘Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.’

We need your support in making a stand for press freedom. Join the Counter-Leveson Inquiry Facebook page – and help us build our war chest by donating generously here.

Monday 11 April 2016
Mick Hume
Junk the injunctions, and free the press
There are bigger issues than celeb sex lives behind this farcical gag.

Wednesday 16 March 2016
Mick Hume
‘Off with their headlines!’
Any democrat should defend the Sun against the new Crown censorship.

Wednesday 9 March 2016
Mick Hume
Turkish repression is no advert for EU ‘freedom’
Why are renegade liberals demanding Euro leaders teach 'Johnny Turk' a lesson?

Monday 29 February 2016
Mick Hume
After the busted witch-hunt, the botched cover-up
Ignore the Met’s spin and remember the lessons of Operation Elveden.

Thursday 22 October 2015
Mick Hume
Some good news for press freedom, but...
…it’s still bad enough — and would be worse under Corbyn’s Labour.

Thursday 24 September 2015
Mick Hume
The forgotten First Amendment freedom
A free press remains the lifelong partner of free speech.

Saturday 18 July 2015
Brendan O’Neill
A newspaper bans its own Nick Cave story – the Twittermob strikes again
The ease with which mobs can demolish content is terrifying.

Tuesday 14 July 2015
Charlie Parker
Press freedom: Keir Starmer faces his critics
What happened when the former DPP met angry Sun journalists.

Monday 23 March 2015
Mick Hume
The Sun 4: ‘Guilty’ of being journalists
The UK state is prosecuting tabloid reporters for telling the truth.

Thursday 5 March 2015
Mick Hume
‘Vote Labour, get Lord Justice Leveson!’
If Labour wins the election, press freedom will be a big loser.

Thursday 26 February 2015
Brendan O’Neill
The hysteria of Hacked Off

Wednesday 25 February 2015
Mick Hume
Hugh Grant: hero of the fight for press freedom?
His boasts confirm freedom is being redefined as liberty-on-licence.

Thursday 11 December 2014
Yamir Ash
No More Page 3’s Christmas single – even worse than it sounds

Monday 3 November 2014
Tim Black
‘A venal political attack on the press’
The Australian’s Chris Mitchell on the illiberal liberals threatening press freedom.

Tuesday 21 October 2014
Tim Black
‘The best answer to bad speech? More speech’
Nick Gillespie on Fox News, press freedom, and our new media utopia.

Wednesday 15 October 2014
Mick Hume
‘The Establishment is trying to choke journalism’
David Dinsmore, editor of the Sun, on the challenges to press freedom.

Monday 6 October 2014
Mick Hume
How UK liberals helped police hack the press
Tabloid-bashing crusaders enabled the state to treat journalists like jihadists.

Wednesday 1 October 2014
Tim Black
Brooks Newmark: another chance to bash the tabloids
Post-Leveson, even Tory sex scandals are deemed unacceptable.

Thursday 4 September 2014
Mick Hume
It’s official: phone-hacking is not a crime or a scandal
When it’s Britain’s secret police hacking the tabloid Sun, that is.

Thursday 14 August 2014
Jack Prescott
Operation Tuleta: a warrant to hound the tabloids

Next Page >>


25 May 2016
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24 May 2016
Mourinho: is he the Messiah, or a very naughty boy?

21 June 2013:
Man of Steel, leaden film

28 June 2013:
Dispatches’ dirty little secret