Journalism Manifesto: Why we need to look at more than changing the plumbing of the press complaints system

Today Press Gazette launches a Journalism Manifesto – ten ways in which we think British journalism can learn from the hacking scandal and emerge from it stronger and more honest.

At the heart of the manifesto is the idea that journalism needs be about more than pushing stories to the limits of  what we can get away with – but that it needs to follow a new set of principles based on fairness, trust, transparency and honour.

Lord Hunt is currently drawing up his proposals for a reformed Press Complaints Commission – and he seems to have taken on board the need for change brought about by the hacking scandal.

But Press Gazette thinks we need to go further than changing the plumbing of the press complaints system. We need to look at problems like the secrecy which many major news organisations cloak themselves in, special treatment for advertisers in editorial, the scandal of slave-labour internship schemes and the practice of giving pampered celebrities copy-approval over editorial.

Most importantly, the new post hacking settlement for the British press needs to take into account the pressures which ordinary journalists are put under and should be more than another cosy deal between a small group of senior editors, owners, publishers and politicians. 

Because while the witch-hunt continues for individual journalists who have broken the rules – and the arrests pile up – it has to be acknowledged that the pressure to behave unethically, and the culture which allowed it, came from the very top.

Read Press Gazette Journalism Manifesto here – and please add your suggestions to it in the comments.


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