General election 2017: Lib Dem manifesto calls for effective press regulation, strengthened FoI Act and media plurality review

The Liberal Democrats have condemned press regulator IPSO in their election manifesto saying that they would seek to “ensure delivery of independent self-regulation”.

They have also called for part two of the Leveson Inquiry, into phone-hacking at newspapers, to go ahead.

On press regulation the Lib Dem stance appears to favour enactment of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act which seeks to force news publishers to join a press regulator which conforms to the Leveson recommendations as set out in the Royal Charter.

The Liberal Democrats oppose any attempt to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 10 of the convention protects freedom of expression and the confidentiality of journalistic sources.

They promise to beef up the Freedom of Information Act by ending the right of ministers to veto the release of information.

Here are the Liberal Democrat manifesto pledges on the media at a glance:

  • Oppose any attempt to withdraw from the ECHR or abolish or water down the Human Rights Act
  • Introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own information, supports individuals over large corporations, and preserves the neutrality of the internet
  • In light of the press’s failure to engage in effective self-regulation, seek to ensure delivery of independent self-regulation, and commence part two of the Leveson inquiry as soon as practicable
  • End the ministerial veto on release of information under the Freedom of Information Act, and take steps to reduce the proportion of FOI requests where information is withheld by government departments
  • Order Ofcom to launch an immediate full assessment of media plurality in the UK, including a review of the ‘fit and proper persons test’ and whether the communications regulator, and the Competition and Markets Authority, have appropriate powers to deal with concentrations of power in the digital economy
  • Support the current UN initiative to protect journalists and to combat the impunity with which many countries treat those who attack reporters on the front line. To this end, we will provide ad hoc funding to UNESCO’s
    International Programme for the Development of Communication.

Download the Lib Dem 2017 general election manifesto in full.

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