HOWARD K. ELSTON (DOA) gives us the lowdown on those UK Fleet Street talks in light of Leveson. Here’s his report:
British national newspaper editors signed up to implement all Lord Justice Leveson’s non-statutory recommendations at a breakfast summit in central London today.
And I can reveal the details of those hush hush top secret behind closed doors, confidential tiptop talks to sort out the UK Fleet Street papers managed by the tricky trickster editors and their slush funds.
The editor of every significant Fleet Street title signed up to 40 of Leveson’s first 47 recommendations – paving the way for the creation of an independent regulator with powers to levy fines of up to £1m and operating a low-cost tribunal system to handle libel and privacy claims.
But they slammed the door on legally underpinning the whole shooting match.
They have agreed:
- to only hack phones on Tuesdays thus paving the way for privacy during weekends for celebs, minor royalty, athletes and politicians
- to bribe police officers who only serve on non London forces thus allowing greater confidence in cops in the Home Counties where many national reporters live and drink
- never to doorstep victims but to politely use megaphones outside private addresses
- always send thank you notes and ‘thank you for having me‘ messages to harassment victims who are forced to reply to monumental stitch ups under the threat of ‘..we’re gonna print it anyway so you might as well let ’em hear your side…’
Top Fleet Street editor Roger Mantle said in a statement: ‘The national papers, plus The Daily Express, respects the Leveson Inquiry. We will play ball as long as it allows us to monitor ourselves and decide for ourselves whether we are good boys or bad boys.’
‘We will pick the independent self regulating body (boy, those are big words for our readers) and it will be made up by us, monitored by us and supervised by us.’
‘We are only thinking of press freedom as this point in time, as it were, and, be that as it may, we know our readers will suffer if an outside group of people actually decided what illegal garbage we print.’
‘We will be in charge of our own garbage, thank you very much.’
UK chief Prime Minister David Cameron (Eton, Oxon, Bullingdon Club) is happy with the new press arrangement. He told me privately: ‘Well, I really sorted out that tabloid mess and told them a thing or two.’
‘The editors are running scared now that they backed down and agreed to run their own regulatory body. No messin’ with The Kid when it comes to dealing with me.’
And he added: ‘Britain can sleep easier knowing that the media tycoons and their editors will decide what they print.’
Phil, a second hand car dealer and media expert from Leeds, commented: ‘Whew. Dave stared down Fleet Street this time. And guess who blinked?’
‘By the way, those new little Fords with the MPV sliding doors are jumping off my forecourt. Book early before Christmas.’