Lord David Puttnam has spoken publicly on the Lessons of Leveson for the first time since the announcement of the Royal Charter Plan. The event took place at Advertising Week Europe, the world’s largest advertising festival, in London, on Tue 19th March.
Lord Puttnam said: “There is a problem more sinister than the issues surrounding the Leveson Inquiry and that’s that even the greatest judiciary can’t stand up against collusion when it’s between the police and the press. It prevents democracy.”
On press regulation, Lord Puttnam affirmed “We’re dealing with an old-fashioned mindset. Editors are used to being kings in castles. The last king to request special treatment was Charles I, and that didn’t do his health a lot of good.”
Lord Puttnam attacked foreign ownership of newspapers, saying that “foreign owners do not have the same interest in the country that they are influencing” and “do not experience the impact of the actions that manipulated narratives can have”.
Lord Puttnam drew comparisons between the US and the UK press systems, highlighting fundamental differences in approaches to ownership and fact-checking. He highlighted that the First Amendment means that protection of the truth is engrained in the Constitution and the culture, meaning that there is vigilance about one’s rights. Lord Puttnam expressed his fears about freedom, saying that he “passionately believes freedom and democracy are fragile”.
On Google, Puttnam commented that “it maintains it keeps to its slogan, but we are entitled to ask them to prove it at any time”.