Wednesday 21 September 2011

The great and the good but where's the bad boys?

Great panel for the Thomson Reuters debate "The Press We Deserve" at the Banqueting House in London last night but something was missing from the feast.

The press was represented by the editors of the Guardian, The Times, Financial Times and The Economist as well as Peter Preston, the media commentator and ex-Guardian editor.

There were a couple of Lords, an MP and Baroness Buscombe, chair of the Press Complaints Commission.

The debate was energetically chaired by the still fantastically charismatic ex-Sunday Times editor Harold Evans.

There were academics, media lawyers and representatives of various pressure groups in the audience who made contributions.

But there was no-one from the red tops, representing the popular press.

This was almost certainly not the organisers fault. Editors of the red tops, with the notable exception of Piers Morgan, have always been notoriously reluctant to appear in public and tend to believe they are going to get stitched up, particularly by broadcasters.

It's the phone-hacking scandal and the "dark arts" practised by the red tops that has brought the Leveson Inquiry down on the press.

Leveson has been criticised for not including anyone with popular press experience on his panel of experts.

What a pity the editors of the popular papers won't appear in public to give their views on "The Press We Deserve" and the future of press regulation.

I think it's something members of the public - and journalists - deserve.
  • I've done a report on the debate here.
  • Pic Harold Evans (Jon Slattery)

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