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Norwich Bishop calls for new press watchdog

The Bishop of Norwich has called for an end to the current self-regulation of the press in light of the publication of the Leveson Report yesterday which recommended a new state-backed independent regulator underpinned by law.

 
BishopNorwich370The Rt Rev Graham James (pictured right), who sits as a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications and is the Church of England’s lead spokesman on media and communications policy, has commented on the need for a genuinely independent body which “must have as one of its primary tasks the protection of citizens from unfair and damaging portrayal in the press and give them a proper chance of redress. 
 
When members of the general public are unfairly traduced in a major press story, it is not a necessary consequence of press freedom but an abuse of it.”
 
In an article on the Leveson Report to be published in the Church Times next week, Bishop Graham says: “The Leveson Report must surely bring the era of self-regulation to an end.  We do need a genuinely independent body able to investigate the practices of the press without the trigger of a complaint bringing it into action.  It must be properly resourced by the industry itself but that doesn’t mean it needs to build a large bureaucracy.” 
 
Reflecting on the wider issues in the Report, Bishop Graham will also call in the Church Times article for a deeper examination of the moral and theological themes raised in the Leveson Inquiry:  “The public release of photographs of Prince Harry in Las Vegas merited public disapproval while there were almost one hundred million Google searches in the UK for those same photographs within 24 hours. 
 
“Law and sin, regulation and grace, freedom and our capacity to abuse it: these are the theological themes of the report.”
 
Click here to read an executive summary of the Leveson Report
 
www.churchtimes.co.uk
 


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