We discussed politics and the media in the CMI seminar today. It's funny that where politics are concerned culture and nationality immediately enter the equation. Being British myself I can say quite fairly that the ease with which the Brits climb onto their high horse where moral code is concerned is astounding. The public is more than ready to point fingers at everyone and everything else and declare loudly who is wrong and who is right, as long as they are sitting comfortably at home with a cup of tea.
Our main discussion revolved around the free press and the Levenson inquiry and how much freedom the press should actually have.
I believe that hacking phones, harassing celebrities and the like is wrong. It is never going to be right. However, it has always happened.
Do you honestly and truly believe that the Levenson inquiry was opened purely because of the Milly Dowler case?
Why that case? I am sure there were plenty of other cases that people knew about before but which were chosen to be ignored.
Somewhere, somebody realised this inquiry was in their interest. The right case at the right time for the right person. Someone somewhere wanted to get at someone else. A moral code is the perfect scapegoat. No one can really argue. Especially when distraught parents are concerned.
Of course, then all the celebrities jump onto the bandwagon, eager to get their fair share. Complete with revenge.
But back to the question in hand. The press.
Is it right that reporters just barge into a persons life, do anything for a story and then bring that person down?
But would you rather have reporters being chucked into prison for reporting on corrupt governments or for writing the truth?
You can't pick and choose here. If you put down rules you won't be administering them. They will be used by the people at the top. And even though there are some who think politicians are expected to be morally higher and better than the common man, politicians are still human and they will end up using those rules to serve their own purpose. Then you can sit and be as morally correct as you want but it won't matter.
I don't think the young and naive quite comprehend yet, that the minute you put any sort of stop on the press (assuming they are actually 'free' in the first place) you are at the beginning of the short road to losing all freedom of speech.
Of course, those who haven't experienced or seen that won't understand it until it's too late.