It seems to be a day for licensing and accreditation news today. Here’s another not very well thought through proposal, this time from Ivan Lewis, the Shadow Culture Secretary. He says that “a free press is non-negotiable” yet doesn’t seem to see that what he proposes is a shackle that can be used by dishonourable governments to remove a dissenting media voice.
Licensing journalists is a stupid idea. If anyone needs licensing it’s MPs – one false move, like thieving from expenses and allowances, and the electorate should be able to kick them out. What’s more they should quickly appear in Court, be given a long jail term if convicted and forever barred from holding public office again.
We saw what happened in July when Sky News & the BBC broadcast film of Murdoch being ‘pied’ that tptb didn’t want us to see – Passes withdrawn. I wouldn’t like the licensing of journalists to be in the hands of politicians.
Lewis was Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office under the last government; perhaps he picked up this idea from the EU.
In November last year I blogged about further developments to the EU’s accreditation scheme. Apparently it’s now under review because of “conflicting editorial interests”. Surprise.
We already know that the EU is considering a pan-European BBC-type licence fee and that it funds news outlets already (incl. the BBC) so nothing they do could surprise me any more.
UPDATE2: 🙂 Here we go: The ‘Clarification’,
“Clarifying, Lewis wanted to say that he did not want to see any individual reporters licensed – rather he wanted to propose for discussion whether the news industry might agree that miscreant journalists be banned from future employment.”
I’m not sure that’s an awful lot better.