Hacked Off's proposed bill would 'substantially undermine press freedom', say MPs

MPs yesterday said that Hacked Off’s proposed draft bill would “substantially undermine press freedom”.

An Early Day Motion, put forward by two MPs yesterday, called for “any such of similar proposals to be rejected”.

Campaign group Hacked Off unveiled its 27-page “Leveson Bill” last Monday, with the group calling it a "plain and straightforward" way of implementing Leveson’s findings.

But Lib Dem John Hemming and Tory Peter Lilley suggested in Parliament yesterday that the bill would “make press freedom vulnerable to the use of Ministerial orders under the provisions of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006”.

According to Hansard records, they said: “Sub clause 1 (3) of the draft bill encourages interference by Ministers and other public officials in media activities for purposes defined as legitimate at that time.”

They also highlighted that sub clause 2 (2) of the bill “gives proposed Recognition Commission detailed control over the Standards Code” and that Schedule 1 “puts into statute the basis of the Standards Code thereby making it vulnerable to chance by Ministerial order”.

“It is important that press freedom is maintained to ensure that the media can speak truth unto power,” they said.

“The draft bill proposed by the Hacked Off campaign would substantially undermine press freedom.”

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