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KU lecturer meets the Prime Minister

By River Reporter Oct 11, 2012

Kingston University lecturer Brian Cathcart has met the Prime Minister to discuss press regulation.

Lisa Moravec

Kingston lecturer Professor Brian Cathcart has met with the Prime Minister last Wednesday to discuss press regulation.

Professor Cathcart, director of Hacked Off, a media ethics campaign, gave a lecture at Kingston University before meeting David Cameron.

Speaking to The River Professor Cathcart said: “I am campaigning to get an improvement in the way the press is regulated.”

Prime Minister’s promise

David Cameron promised Professor Cathcart and his team on Wednesday to do everything that they have suggested and to set up “a sensible regulatory system” while securing press freedom to uncover wrongdoing for the sake of the UK’s democracy.

 “Working as a journalist is not just about getting a byline, but it shows who is responsible for the story,” said Professor Cathcart during the lecture at KU.

“We are hoping to insure there is new regulation and that the press will be free from political interference. If they cannot be eliminated, we hope that they can be at least reduced. The press and the police should establish a better relationship.”

Mary Braid, another journalism professor at Kingston University, argued that newspapers are businesses and need to sell their daily stories.

Hacked Off Hugh

The actor, Hugh Grant, who is the face of Hacked Off, has joined the project after claiming he was harassed by the press.  

Hacked Off and Professor Cathcart are attempting to find a new approach for balancing the right to privacy and the freedom of expression.

About working with Hugh Grant, Professor Cathcart said: “He takes a very serious interest in the issue on the need to protect people who don’t have the resources, ordinary people for example, people who have been involved in crimes, had their phones hacked or had their personal information accessed.”

Although Grant makes use of his popularity to support the Hacked Off campaign, Professor Cathcart said that the actor has always made people aware that: “This is not about me, this is about you, because maybe tomorrow it could be you. You may not think that you are someone who merits this attraction but you cannot be sure about it.”

Since November 2011, when The Leveson Inquiry opened the hearings, Professor Cathcart has been actively campaigning to replace the current Press Complaints Commission.

His recently published book Everybody’s Hacked Off – Why we don’t have the press we deserve and what to do about it, serves as the manifesto of Hacked Off,  and tries to establish a new era of journalism.

Professor Cathcart raises awareness of the responsibility problem which society is currently experiencing, not only in journalism but also in the financial sector.

“After almost 30 years of working in journalism, I have become engaged with press regulation after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007 and became a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Media Select Committee.

“This happened when the government was working on the concept of an inquiry into press standards and regulation,” Professor Cathcart told The River.

He and his Hacked Off team are “hoping to insure a new regulation and a press that will be free from political interference, as well as from the unsuitable relationships between the press and the police.”

Students can purchase Professor Brian Cathcart’s book, published by Penguin, on Amazon for £1.99.

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