How do we know when is press regulation good enough? The question is topical because IPSO, the self-regulator established by the big corporate newspapers, has been trying lately to persuade us it can be trusted to do its job.
The big corporate papers are encouraging the idea that the result of the general election means the end of the Leveson process. Although this claim is hardly surprising given their wild-eyed desperation to avoid any form of meaningful accountability, it is wrong. Here are five reasons to be confident that independent, effective press self-regulation along the lines recommended by the Leveson Inquiry is on its way.
As IPSO - the press' response to Leveson - opened for business this week, newspapers may be wondering whether they will be able to convince the public that it is not just a replica of its discredited predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission. No doubt IPSO will receive praise from newspapers themselves - at least initially. But will this be enough to paper over its shortcomings? Based on the public's response to the coverage of the Leveson Report and its implementation by the national press, the answer is no. It is highly unlikely that positive newspaper coverage will ever convince the public that IPSO is independent or effective.
As the corporation gears up to negotiating the renewal of the Royal Charter and defending the licence fee (why Ian Fletcher was brought in, after all), W1A is a reminder of why the BBC is worth it. Ok, there are a few other reasons, like BBC News and Radio 4 and live music and (now) the World Service.... You don't have to like them all, just enough of them.
In the lead up to 2015, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband all have one key issue to address - that of trust. Until the public can regain confidence in the parliamentary system as well as their respect for MPs, the electorate will find it hard to determine which way to vote, if indeed they vote at all.
This country is now very close to settling a problem that has plagued it for generations. The problem was this: how to protect ordinary citizens from lying, bullying and unjustified intrusion carried out in the name of journalism, while at the same time ensuring that journalists were free to do the job they need to do to sustain our democracy. The solution is the Royal Charter on press self-regulation.
Deaf to everyone else and in denial about their own disgraceful record, the people who run Britain's biggest newspaper groups are forging ahead with their 'IPSO' scheme to regulate their affairs on their own terms. It can't be said often or plainly enough: hardly a soul outside their immediate circle agrees that this is the right way forward.
In 2009 newspapers were arguing to MPs that the existence of a no-win-no-fee system giving some ordinary people the ability to sue papers for breaching their rights was an unacceptable constraint on press freedom. The talk of 300 years of press freedom is not based on the facts but is an argument of convenience. Today these papers declare that the press has been free for centuries, but tomorrow, if it suits them, the same papers will insist with equal ardour that the press has never been free.