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Keep the press free

Calls for stricter rules will be a disaster for freedom of speech

“Hackgate” exposed the fraudulence of press self-regulation. But what should replace it?

The Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the British press, set up in response to the tabloid phone hacking scandal, finally gets under way in November. Where should it lead? The politicians who called for it have no idea. Ivan Lewis, shadow culture secretary at the time, wanted editors and journalists subjected to “professional” regulation—heavy fines, or the equivalent of disbarment—just like reckless doctors and irresponsible barristers. Ed Miliband, by contrast, says he still wants the tabloids to regulate themselves, thereby clinging to a notion wholly undermined by…

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