THE LEVESON INQUIRY was a public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the UK press, following the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News International. The final report published in 2012 said that the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) were insufficient and a new independent regulatory body should be created, it also made recommendations over the Data Protection Act, and powers and duties of the Information Commissioner, along with conduct of relations between the press, the police, and politician.

However, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that the government will not implement stage 2 of the Leveson Inquiry, however, the peers did revive it last month through an amendment to the Data Protection Act that is currently going through parliament.

What is stage 2?

Stage 2 of the Leveson Inquiry was to look at the relationship between the police and the media, including whether the police received corrupt payments or were otherwise complicit in misconduct. The ethics of the free press have been called into question multiple times and recently Theresa May said she is setting up a unit that would tackle fake news. There have already been significant failures in this respect after media reports of Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed espionage against the British state. The Conservatives were against the second part of the Leveson Inquiry during the election last year.

There have been significant failures by the press in recent years, especially when it has come to blatant lies or misinformation and they need to be held accountable but the government effectively closing the inquiry indicates that accountability is something unnecessary when reaching millions of people, usually affecting the outcome of elections and the governing of the country.

Uncensored public information is vital for a society to grow and holding those who fail to account should be a basic principle of any free society.

With May’s fake news unit and the axing of Leveson, is this a move to push state propaganda with little ability for oppositions to combat?