The Press little law

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No matter which side of the fence you lie the UK Government proposals for legal under-pinning of a Royal Charter for the press is a little bit flawed.  Its not that I don’t think the press needs to be regulated, I do! and a law is just the thing to keep them on a leash.  Its that the it only applies to the print media, web-based blogs, Twitter, Facebook…. well they get off the hook, no questions asked.  

The reality is that the print media has had its day, its a dinosaur and the Government wants to regulate an industry on the verge of collapse.  Tell me, when did you last see someone reading the published news in public if its not one the freebies?  Not so often I guess.

The major concern from the press has got to be putting their content on the websites.  But how do they get paid for it?  In 2010 The Times decided to go for pay-to-view and hasn’t been heard of since.  Only the FT survives but they get on by selling data in conjunction with the news.

Now my favorite nation, the French!  They had the same problem but one man has found the solution, M Edwy Plenel who used to run Le Monde founded the website Mediapart staffed by lots of ex-jurno’s from Le Monde.  From day 1 they charged subscriptions.

M Plenel began his career on the LCR – Ligue communiste révolutionnaire back in 1976,  From 1985/86 while working for Le Monde, he was one of the targets of a wiretapping scandal perpetrated by a secret presidential anti-terrorism cell, which he had implicated in the “Irish of Vincennes” affair for framing three Irish nationals on terrorism charges.  In 2001, he was awarded the Prix Medicis essai for his essay Secrets de jeunesse (Secrets of Youth). He resigned from Le Monde in November 2004, and is currently the editor-in-chief of Mediapart, an Internet-based subscription journal which he founded in 2008.

Its now believed that Mediapart is profitable and just right now is flying high.  Mediapart broke the Cahuzac scandal, which is now a real threat to the Hollande Government less than 12 months since his Presidential election win.

Jerome Cahuzac Budget Minister (UK equivalent Secretary of State to the Treasury) got himself caught with a €600k Swiss bank account of untaxed French income.  A tricky one for any Government but for Hollande, especially so.  He stood on a platform of getting the banks and financial sector to toe the line.

Naturally enough Cahzac denied he had the money to the media and parliament.  Holland in full support!  2 months later and he resigned to prove his innocence, 2 weeks later and he comes clean, he had the money after all and was trying to avoid paying tax, genius.  Never mind that though, what baffles me is that he’s a cosmetic surgeon specializing in male hair transplants.  What on earth was Holland thinking putting a cosmetic surgeon in charge of the nations finances?

Holland to his credit now describes Cahuzac’s actions as “unpardonable”.  The questions are floating however, what was the President doing trusting a cosmetic surgeon with the nations finances, one who in his early political career was linked with the far right?

And to put the (jack)boot in; the agent who opened the Swiss account on his behalf is now an adviser to the odious Marine Le Pen.

Question:  could the government have found out the real truth any quicker than Mediapart?

The real shocker however is that this is a French scandal with NO SEX!  Well not a shock actually, his wife was divorcing him and had a PI look into his financial affairs to find the money.  A woman scorned….

Could the Brits have a Mediapart I wonder?  Well there is plainly a gap to fill.  But who to fill it?  The Bureau of Investigative Journalism cant be a contender after the debacle over the McAlpine affair.  No a private individual is what’s needed I think.

Is this where Branson steps into the breach?


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