There is nothing in any of the proposals aired at the inquiry or in Leveson or in the hubbub since that will make regulatory issues any more tractable than they have been for over the last two decades. Heaven knows, the PCC needed more muscle and more independence. But, there is no half-decent system of press regulation in the world that does not begin with the taking of complaints from the public. Yet Leveson rejected the notion that a complaints-driven system could justify calling itself a regulator.
The pips are squeaking. As the deadline approaches for Lord Justice Leveson to make his recommendations on press regulation to the government, the public debate gets more strident. Rumours abound that he will recommend a role for the state. The chairman of the Press Complaints Commission urged him in a speech last night not to go down this path.
But, what about the internet, I hear you cry? Kate's topless photos have shot around the world. Doesn't this make an utter nonsense of press regulation, statutory or non-statutory? And isn't it unfair to put newspapers, already in a dodgy financial state, at a commercial disadvantage by not being able to publish content widely available online? There are no easy answers. But, unless you want to dispense with regulation altogether, to give newspapers an automatic right to reproduce anything they fancy from the internet surely cannot be justified.
It's not every week that you find yourself part of the news you're usually reporting, but on Wednesday, rather than watching the Leveson Inquiry, I was in front of it instead. Leveson (the inquiry, not the man) is one of those strange soap operas: an almost perfect concoction of sombre celebrities, humble and not-so-humble newspaper editors, criminal action and, at its very heart, an investigation that could yet change the face of the media landscape.
The existence of the internet means that people will publish what they want when they want to. If we enforce restrictions on what we can publish in this country, people will write online blogs and write for foreign publications. If our most reliable UK sources are choked off, people will be forced to rely on publications that are less reputable, and perhaps even illegal.