Londoners quizzed by Press Gazette disagree with Labour on need for tougher press regulation

Most members of the public quizzed by Press Gazette in a vox pop today did not appear to agree with Labour's manifesto plan for tougher press regulation.

The Labour Party’s general election manifesto yesterday committed it to enforcing the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry.

The manifesto said: “We expect the industry to establish a mechanism for independent self-regulation, which delivers proper redress for individuals, as set out in the Royal Charter, and agreed by all parties in Parliament.

“We made a promise to victims of the phone hacking scandal. We stand by that promise and will keep it.”

When Press Gazette asked a random sample of Londoners whether they agreed with Labour that tougher press regulation was needed, most disagreed.

Of the 11 people Press Gazette spoke to, eight  were against more regulation of the press and three were in favour of it.

Those against tougher press regulation included the following:

Jon Roe, 29, a painter from Bermondsey (pictured left), said: “I think it’s only right papers publish what they do. Stories about celebrities or public figures raise awareness for kids of what these people are doing wrong.”

Jonathan Tomlin, 36, a cycle courier from Brixton, said: “No. Fundamentally I’m all for a free press. It’s integral to a healthy society. Something should be done about journalists who invade people’s privacy without undermining the free press.”

Peter Hitchcock, 46, a steeplejack from Nottingham who works in London, said: “I’d rather government didn’t regulate press further.  I think that freedom of speech isn’t a bad thing and the press should have a moderate amount of freedom.”

Linda Bailey, 56, a maintenance worker from Notting Hill Gate, said: “Regulation shouldn’t get tougher. There’s too many rules and regulations at the moment and we are losing our freedoms.”

Lee Ward, 34, a decorator from Bermondsey (pictured left), said: “As it stands now I think it’s alright. More rules would starve papers. Good stories could be covered up, when they should be shown.”

Izzy, from East London, said: “We are meant to have a free press. Regulation could be a slippery slope, but there’s a middle ground. You shouldn’t be allowed to incite violence, for example, so there needs to be guidelines. There should be a free press but not illegal press.”

The following people agreed with Labour that tougher press regulation is needed:

Nicholas Cole, 37, a site supervisor from Romford, said: “Papers have been taking the piss lately. The way they have been tapping up people, eavesdropping, that’s an invasion of privacy and they should be punished. Sometimes you don’t know the full story, and papers create a bad opinion of people.”

Chris Chrysanthou, 55, a street works inspector from Palmers Green, said: “The press should be more accountable. I just think more journalists should be more accountable for what they actually print.”

Main picture: Reuters

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