Media Standards Trust YouGov Poll February 2013

Public Supports Implementation of Leveson

The results in full are provided by YouGov here

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Media Standards Trust and conducted on 31st January – 1st February, has shown strong public support behind implementation of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for a new system of press regulation.

The poll of 2,030 GB Adults (18+) shows almost three quarters of the public back implementation of the recommendations in the Leveson Report and want more transparency in relationships between politicians and the media.

  • 74% believe the government should implement Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations – against 9% who do not
  • 73% would have ‘not much’ or ‘no’ confidence in a new system of voluntary press regulation with no legal backing
  • 83% think that politicians like Boris Johnson and George Osborne should either not be having dinner with people like Rupert Murdoch (27%) or, if they do, should be transparent about them (56%)

The public also feel that the recommendations of the report should be implemented quickly – 64% favour introduction of a new regulatory system within 12 months or sooner

In the same poll, respondents agreed strongly with Leveson’s recommendations about transparency in the relationship between senior politicians and media owners, newspaper editors and senior executives:

  • 73% believe that meetings between politicians and senior media figures should be made public, against 10% who believe they should not
  • 83% think that politicians like Boris Johnson and George Osborne should either not be having dinner with people like Rupert Murdoch (27%) or, if they do, should be transparent about them (56%)

A clear majority of the public back a new law to underpin the new system. 52% believe that press regulation requires legal backing to be effective and independent, compared with 23% who feel that legal backing would risk freedom of the press and political interference.

Confidence and trust in the role of the press in setting up a new regulatory system is low – 73% would have ‘not much’ or ‘no’ confidence in a new system of voluntary press regulation with no legal backing, while 82% see a risk in a repeat of the press abuses revealed during the Leveson Inquiry, if the press continues to be regulate themselves through a similar system to the current one.

There is public support for Leveson’s key recommendations:

  • 79% think it is important that there is regular independent oversight of the system set up by the press
  • 73% think it is important that a system of arbitration is introduced as an alternative to courts

Director of the Media Standards Trust, Dr. Martin Moore, said “This poll shows that the public overwhelmingly support implementation of Leveson, and do not have confidence in a system set up by the press without proper independent oversight. There’s a real fear that, if things do not change substantially, the same illegal and unethical practices will recur.”

“The public also want politicians to become a lot more transparent, and not revert to the cosy relationships they enjoyed before the Leveson Inquiry was set up”

 

Summary of results

Implementing Leveson:

  • 74% of respondents believe the government should implement Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, against 9% who do not
  • 56% believe that, for press regulation to be effective and independent it needs to be backed up by a law, compared with 23% who feel that any regulation of the press backed by a law would risk the freedom of the press and political interference
  • 64% favour the introduction of a new regulatory system within 12 months or sooner
  • 82% believe there is a risk that, if the press continue to regulate themselves through a system similar to the current one, there will be a return to unethical and illegal practices; 49% believe that there is a ‘Strong Risk’. 6% believe that there is ‘no real risk’, or ‘no risk at all’
  • Of the various regulatory structures proposed:

- 12% would have ‘a lot’ or ‘a fair amount’ of confidence in a press regulator set up voluntarily by newspapers, without any legal backing, against 73% who would have ‘not much’ or ‘no’ confidence

- For a press regulator set up by newspapers and backed by Royal Charter, these figures were 35% and 48%, respectively

- For a regulator set up by newspapers, backed by a new law, 40% would have confidence, while 46% would not

- For a press regulator set up by the government, backed by a new law, 54% would have confidence, compared with 32% who would not

Transparency:

  • 73% believe that meetings between politicians and senior media figures should be made public, against 10% who believe they should not
  • 71% think that senior politicians should publish details of meetings with media owners and editors either after each meeting (34%) or Quarterly (37%)
  • 83% think that politicians like Boris Johnson and George Osborne should either not be having dinner with people like Rupert Murdoch (27%) or, if they do, should be transparent about them (56%)

Leveson’s Recommendations:

  • 79% view ‘regular monitoring of press self-regulation by an independent commission to check the system is working effectively on behalf of the public’ as ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important, against 6% who feel it is not important
  • 78% believe that ‘a fast and free arbitration system for people who feel they have been libelled or harassed by the press to use as an alternative to the courts’ is important, compared with 8% who do not
  • 45% believe in the importance of ‘lower legal bills for newspapers that get taken to court if they have joined the new system, to encourage as many as possible to join’, compared with 37% who do not
  • 45% see ‘allowing people and groups who were not specifically mentioned in a news story to be able to make a complaint about it’ as important, while 38% do not

 

  • 65% of respondents side ‘entirely’ or ‘mostly’ with Prince Harry’s criticism of press invasion of his, and others’, privacy, against 10% who side ‘entirely’ or ‘mostly’ with newspapers
  • 13% claimed not to have followed news of the Leveson Inquiry and press regulation at all, while 46% followed it ‘not very closely’, 35% ‘fairly closely’ and 6% very closely

For more information or to discuss the results please contact Dr. Gordon Neil Ramsay on

+44 (0)20 7727 5252 or at gordon.ramsay@mediastandardstrust.org

 

Overall Results:

Generally speaking, do you think the government should or should not implement Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations?

 

Thinking about the need to ensure independent and effective regulation of the press and the need to protect press freedom, which of the following best reflects your view?

 

 

Leveson made his recommendations in November 2012. Some people want the recommendations introduced as quickly as possible, other people think time should be allowed to build agreement over a new system within Parliament and the press. How quickly do you think a new regulatory system should be introduced?

Imagine the press continue to regulate themselves through a system similar to the current one. What risk, if any, do you think there is that there will be a repeat of the unethical and illegal practices (such as phone hacking and intrusions into people’s private lives) that were revealed during the Leveson Inquiry?

 

 

An alternative means of trying to ensure that a new system of press self-regulation is independent and effective is to have it monitored by a new body which is set up using a Royal Charter. This would avoid the need for a new law but, on its own, would not achieve all of Leveson’s recommendations.

How much confidence would you have in:

 

Do you think senior politicians should or should not publish details of meetings they have with media owners, newspaper editors or senior executives?

 

 

How often do you think senior politicians should publish details of meetings with media owners and editors?

 

 

 

Boris Johnson and George Osborne recently had dinner at the home of Rupert Murdoch, the head of the company that owned the News of the World and owns the Sun, Times and Sunday Times.

Which of the following statements most clearly matches your views about this:

 

 

 

How important, if at all, do you think the following recommendations in the Leveson Report are?

Prince Harry recently criticised the British newspapers for going too far in invading his privacy and that of others. Some newspapers say that they have a duty to report some of his private activities because of his position in the royal family and his public position. With whom do you have most sympathy?

 

 

How closely, if at all, have you personally been following news of the Leveson Inquiry and press regulation?

 

 

 

Selected Results by Political Party Voting Intention

Generally speaking, do you think the government should or should not implement Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations?

 

 

 

Thinking about the need to ensure independent and effective regulation of the press and the need to protect press freedom, which of the following best reflects your view?

 

An alternative means of trying to ensure that a new system of press self-regulation is independent and effective is to have it monitored by a new body which is set up using a Royal Charter. This would avoid the need for a new law but, on its own, would not achieve all of Leveson’s recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think senior politicians should or should not publish details of meetings they have with media owners, newspaper editors or senior executives?

Boris Johnson and George Osborne recently had dinner at the home of Rupert Murdoch, the head of the company that owned the News of the World and owns the Sun, Times and Sunday Times.

Which of the following statements most clearly matches your views about this:

 

 

 

How often do you think senior politicians should publish details of meetings with media owners and editors?

 

How important, if at all, do you think the following recommendations in the Leveson Report are?

 

Leveson made his recommendations in November 2012. Some people want the recommendations introduced as quickly as possible, other people think time should be allowed to build agreement over a new system within Parliament and the press. How quickly do you think a new regulatory system should be introduced?

 

 

Imagine the press continue to regulate themselves through a system similar to the current one. What risk, if any, do you think there is that there will be a repeat of the unethical and illegal practices (such as phone hacking and intrusions into people’s private lives) that were revealed during the Leveson Inquiry?

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 3,620 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st January – 1st February 2013.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules.

All data is derived from categories with more than 100 responses, ensuring reliability of results