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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.

Thursday 7 August 2014
Mick Hume
The fight for press freedom – still a war without end
Now we know: anti-hacking hysteria was just a flag of convenience.

Thursday 3 July 2014
Mick Hume
In defence of hacks who break the law
The phone-hacking scandal is being used to criminalise investigative journalism.

Wednesday 25 June 2014
Mick Hume
A battle for the soul of UK journalism
The bigger issue behind the phone-hacking trials is the future of a free press.

Tuesday 17 June 2014
Neil Ross
Freedom of the press is never ‘case by case’
If the US is to remain committed to press freedom, ‘reporter's privilege’ must be extended to all.

Wednesday 26 February 2014
Tom Slater
The Snowden Files: a case study in hypocrisy
Luke Harding's book reads like an unwitting parody of Guardianista narcissism.

Monday 23 December 2013
Mick Hume
Free speech: a year of living undangerously
In 2013, freedom has too often been given up without a fight.

Wednesday 11 December 2013
Mick Hume
A new free-speech outfit – for less press freedom?
Even World Press Freedom Hero Sir Harold Evans backs a tough new regulator.

Thursday 5 December 2013
Mick Hume
Who wants to be an ‘ethical journalist’?
Role models vs rogues: journalism’s phony divide.

Thursday 31 October 2013
Mick Hume
Press found guilty – of being too free
The Royal Charter debate is based on the myth UK journos need taming.

Wednesday 30 October 2013
Tom Slater
‘The CPS asked me to stop selling Private Eye. I said “No”’
A newspaper seller tells spiked why he refused to cave in to officialdom's demands.

Wednesday 23 October 2013
Mick Hume
Why should the DPP define press freedom?
Step forward the liberal media’s new hero: the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Thursday 10 October 2013
Mick Hume
We don’t need no regulation
Hey, politicans, leave the press alone!

Wednesday 4 September 2013
Mick Hume
A pox on your ‘public interest’!
The ethics of journalism shouldn’t be dictated by the police, judges - or the Guardian.

Friday 5 July 2013
Mick Hume
‘If this happened in China, there’d be a shitstorm here’
Arrested Sun and News of the World journalists tell spiked about their ordeal.

Wednesday 26 June 2013
Mick Hume
Hacking is a crime - but only if you’re a press hack
A report, ignored by Leveson, reveals that police sat on evidence of widespread phone-hacking by top firms while rounding up journalists.

Thursday 23 May 2013
Mick Hume
Liberty comes out
against press liberty

The UK’s top civil liberties lobby has finally played its hand on the press – it favours statutory backed regulation.

Wednesday 10 April 2013
Mick Hume
That’s enough on Hacked Off, Eds
We need to focus less on the private machinations of the anti-tabloid lobby, and more on making the public case for press freedom.

Tuesday 26 March 2013
Mick Hume
Accepting Leveson means accepting we have lost
The current nitpicking about the details of the shabby Royal Charter deal is not nearly enough to defend press freedom.

Wednesday 20 March 2013
Mick Hume
10 random lies about the press freedom stitch-up
The shabby deal to impose a new press regulator by royal charter has sparked an outpouring of myths, misrepresentation and mendacity.

Tuesday 19 March 2013
Brendan O’Neill
Don’t blame Hacked Off for this crisis of liberty
Screeching at Hugh Grant is a displacement activity for intellectuals who can’t explain or reverse the historic corrosion of press freedom.

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