Does The Daily Mail's Mick Philpott Front Page Prove Press Regulation Is Necessary?

03/04/2013 18:05 | Updated 04 April 2013
  • Lucy Sherriff The Huffington Post UK

The Daily Mail's controversial front page on convicted murderer Mick Philpott has renewed the discussion on whether press regulation is justified.

In the wake of the reaction to the tabloid's splash, which was described as a "uniquely revolting piece of work", some have now said the incident has provided a case for press regulation.

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The paper's front page provoked a furious reaction online

Ben Ramsdale, president of Liverpool Hope University's student union, told the Huffington Post UK called the Mail's article "truly irresponsible journalism".

"We rely on our national and local media to inform us accurately and fairly and so there has to be some kind of standard to which we hold every news outlet," he said. "Stories like this one play into a hideous narrative about the poor and those on benefits which, unfortunately, resonates with a lot of people. It should be the job of an informed media to report the truth and not cynically play into this ignorant caricature."

"This story and how it was presented represents truly irresponsible journalism and an attack on some of the most vulnerable people in society."

Ramsdale, who is also an LGBT activist, continued: "While we must be careful to preserve a free and independent media, we have seen that the profit motive has driven some news outlets to immoral and illegal activities.

"It is clearly damaging to our country to allow this sort of shoddy and dangerous journalism to continue. If the press cannot regulate themselves to prevent this sort of "reporting" then there must be legal safeguards."

Anna Claeys, a Cambridge University student journalist, disagrees, and maintains press regulation is still unjustified.

"The only way to deal with this is for the journalistic community and the wider public to highlight the shame in misrepresenting facts and prioritising a political agenda over the objective story, and to publicly condemn the Daily Mail for its crusade of character assassination against welfare claimants," she says.

"Using a rare and tragic case as a political weapon is the lowest form of journalism, and the Mail’s editorial aims are clear: to demonise and shame benefit claimants, to paint the provision of benefits as wasteful, and to support government cuts to welfare spending."

Do you think the Daily Mail's Mick Philpott splash warrants the introduction of press regulation? Tweet @HPUKStudents with your views or comment below.

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