Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary vote on press regulation, author J.K. Rowling , a Core Participant in the Leveson inquiry and supporter of the Hacked Off campaign, issued the following statement today:

Some victims of press abuse felt that Lord Leveson did not go far enough; I disagree. As an oft-banned writer, a devoted reader of Private Eye for a quarter of a century and as somebody who venerated the late great Paul Foot, I could not support anything that hampers the press’s ability to hold power to account. Lord Leveson’s recommendations seemed reasonable and proportionate to me, their aim simply to curtail abuses of the press’s own power.

It goes without saying that what my family has been through – and I spent two hours re-living those experiences on the stand at the Inquiry – is less than nothing compared to what was meted out to the McCanns, the Watsons and the Dowlers: ordinary families who became newsworthy through terrible personal tragedies, or to Chris Jeffries, who was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time and found his life forever changed.

I believed David Cameron when he said that he would implement Leveson’s recommendations ‘unless they were bonkers’. I did not see how he could back away, with honour, from words so bold and unequivocal. Well, he has backed away, and I am one among many who feel they have been hung out to dry. Monday’s vote will make history one way or another; I am merely one among many turning their eyes towards Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg and hoping that they have the courage to do what Cameron promised, but which he failed to deliver.

J.K. Rowling’s comments follow statements by others who gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, including:

Bob and Sally Dowler: ‘We are very disappointed to learn that Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals may not now be taken forward if the politicians choose to ignore the recommendations of LJ Leveson that were aimed at preventing the sort of abuses that we and so many others suffered.’

Kate and Gerry McCann: ‘We are in favour of the freedom of the press; an Independent Self-regulator will guarantee media freedom and independence. But we want our politicians to protect us, to stand up for the ordinary victims instead of siding with the wealthy and powerful.’

Christopher Jefferies: “I welcome tomorrow’s open and democratic parliamentary debate, which I hope will allow many misconceptions about Lord Leveson’s recommendations to be clarified, and lead to the establishment of an independent regulator, underpinned by statute, to monitor press self-regulation.’

The very last day for a real justice to be done  
The very last day for silent regret to take form
For if no battle is taken up now we are beaten
To wither and shrink back within the shadows
Where the press will rip us to pieces one by one