In an ideal world we would not need the police.
People would spontaneously and happily regulate themselves, only acting in the best interests of themselves and all those around them. If conflicts occurred at all, people would sit down over a cup of tea, listen to each other and find a reasonable solution that all parties could live with if not totally support. People would not abuse those who were vulnerable, they would not steal, be violent to others or commit fraud... and when they got drunk, they would simply tell good jokes and go somewhere quiet to sleep off the alcohol. All drivers would stick to the speed limits, leave sufficient stopping distance between themselves and the vehicles in front and generally be courteous and tolerant road users.
In an ideal world...
Newspapers would report the news fairly and without bias... and offer a range of opinions to help readers make up their own minds. The interests of the proprietors would be secondary to a focus on finding the truth about hypocrisy, corruption, fraud and sneaky behaviour by those who have power or influence. Newspapers would challenge people to think about ethics and the hard choices we face as a society, as well as entertaining people with witty, charming, insightful and beautiful articles. Phones would not be hacked, grieving families would not be doorstepped aggressively and salacious or grubby stories would not be leaked to the press by public servants, unless there was a real concern for the public interest.
In an ideal world...
Self regulation would work and the Press Complaints Council or variations on that theme would be enough.
But sadly, we do not live in an ideal world so we need the police and we now need a "robust independent self-regulation of the press of a kind that has not been provided or suggested by the industry up to now".
To go on: "Liberty is in complete agreement with the Judge's view of the necessary characteristics of such a body whose board must be independent of current editors, owners and politicians. It must set and promote ethical standards, handle complaints and crucially offer a swift and cheap alternative to court action for members of the public whose rights (e.g. privacy and reputation) have been violated. No statute is needed to create such a body and editors and proprietors should take the Leveson characteristics and seek to build one without delay." (Full text here)
Let us ensure that the Leveson Report is fully implemented - because we do not live in an ideal world - as some newspapers have made abundantly clear. You can sign the Hacked Off petition here: http://hackinginquiry.org/
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