Since Lord Justice Leveson published his report on the future of UK press regulation, the debate has largely descended into a confusion of alternative detailed proposals from different sections of the political and media elite.
Tory prime minister David Cameron is drafting a law to create a new regulator, apparently in order to show that Leveson's proposal for statutory-backed regulation will not work. On the other side, the Labour opposition—reportedly with the backing of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats—has published a draft bill designed to show that Leveson's law will work. Meanwhile, the national newspaper editors have been rushing around trying to set up a new body that might stave off the threat of legislation.
In all of the micro-debate around the entrails of Leveson's 2,000-page, one million-word report, there is a danger that some bigger issues get lost. It might be worth reminding ourselves of some first principles.
The British press is not free enough already