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Labour and Liberal Democrat stance on Section 40 'disappointing'

01 June 2017


Confirmation by the Labour and Liberal Democrats that they would enact Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act if elected is ‘disappointing’ the Society of Editors has said this week.

Following the launch of their manifestos last month, Press Gazette has reported that both parties have now clarified that they would push ahead with implementing the controversial legislation. In contrast, the Conservative party has confirmed that it would repeal Section 40 and would choose not to go ahead with the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into corporate media governance and police and media relationships.

The Society of Editors, which has opposed both the implementation of Section 40 and Leveson part 2, said that it was disappointed with Labour and the Liberal Democrats position.

The Society said: “The confirmation by Labour and the Liberal Democrats that they would fully commence Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act if elected is extremely disappointing. While both parties have given assurances that they value the freedom of the press and the media’s important role in a democratic society their position on Section 40, an appalling piece of legislation, is in direct conflict with this.

“Section 40 would have a chilling effect on freedom of the press and the Society of Editors, alongside other industry bodies and editors in national, regional and local newspapers have highlighted the detrimental effect that this pernicious piece of legislation would have on investigative journalism.

“Opposition to Section 40 does not stop at the media.  The government received 30,000 responses to its public consultation on the issue and many of these responses were from ordinary members of the public who value the role of local papers in their community. The Society will be asking Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs on June 9 to revisit the issue and ensure that their stance on Section 40 reflects the views of their constituents.”

Read more on Press Gazette here



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