Much of the mainstream press is awash with very public horror at the thought that the government might legislate regulation on the national press if that’s what Lord Leveson recommends.
Last week, Lord McAlpine’s lawyers met with the Metropolitan Police to begin what Scotland Yard calls a “scoping exercise” to discover if the police can treat the tweeting and retweeting of the allegations that McAlpine abused children as a criminal offence. I saw no mainstream press expressing horror that this might lead to legal curbs on a free press. Scotland Yard said:
“We have not received an allegation of crime at this time, however, we can confirm we will be meeting with interested parties to start the process of scoping whether any offence has taken place. It is far too early to say whether any criminal investigation will follow.”
Lawyers for McAlpine said they had identified up to 10,000 allegedly defamatory tweets about the former Tory party treasurer.
They announced plans to sue Twitter users and broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, for libel following the inaccurate Newsnight report into child sex abuse on 2 November.
You might ask – as Tom Pride does – why a man who opts to live in Italy rather than pay his taxes in the UK, is getting this kind of special treatment from the Metropolitan Police. Let him call upon the Italian police to investigate Twitter, since he chooses to live there.
Tomorrow, Lord Leveson will publish his recommendations from the Leveson enquiry.