Goodbye to the freedom of the press

Tuesday 9 October, 6.30pm until 8.30pm, Room 2, The Broadway, 14-18 Broad Street, Nottingham NG1 3AL

‘I do not need to be told about the importance of freedom of speech,’ was the response of the unelected Lord Justice Leveson to education secretary Michael Gove’s defence of free speech. Was he right to dismiss Gove, or merely blind to the fact that a lesson on the importance of free speech was just what he did need?

Historically, John Milton, Karl Marx, George Orwell and many others wrote in a liberal tradition in which the value and importance of freedom of the press, and the need to constantly defend it, was assumed. Yet it seems that to most commentators today, the Leveson Inquiry represents the best of British justice rather than any threat to freedom of the press. To others, the repentant hacks, weeping celebs and censorious Murdoch haters have taken a major step in undermining this great freedom. Is there - as spiked editor Brendan O’Neill claims - a ‘climate of creeping conformism’ that is destroying what Milton defended as out ‘freedom to know’? Or have muck-raking journalists been taught a valuable lesson in morality? What is the state of press freedom today?

Bill Carmichael
columnist and former news editor, Yorkshire Post; journalism teacher, University of Sheffield

Mick Hume
editor-at-large, online magazine spiked; author, Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?

Peter Lloyd
freelance journalist; author, Stand By Your Manhood

Neil White
editor, Derby Telegraph

Professor Dennis Hayes
professor of education, University of Derby

Produced by
Professor Dennis Hayes professor of education, University of Derby
Dr Vanessa Pupavac associate professor; co-director of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, University of Nottingham
Recommended readings
There is No Such Thing as a Free Press ...and we need one more than ever

Once the media reported the news. Now it makes it. The phone-hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the media has put the UK press under scrutiny and on trial as never before.

Mick Hume, Imprint Acaademic, 1 September 2012

Leveson 'loading a gun' against papers, warns Independent's editor

Chris Blackhurst says letter from Lord Justice Leveson warning of potential criticism of press in inquiry's report is a 'diatribe'

Lisa O'Carroll, Guardian, 29 August 2012

Defend a free press - don’t just guard the Guardian

Yes, the police threat to the liberal newspaper was outrageous – but who invited the authorities to crack down on the press in the first place?

Mick Hume, spiked, 27 September 2011

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