London 2012 chairman at forefront of campaign to protect press freedom in Britain
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
November 28 - London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe has today joined some of Britian's top politicians in urging Prime Minister David Cameron against imposing any state regulation on newspapers.
Coe has signed letter, along with eight former Cabinet Ministers, 23 Peers and more than 60 MPs, including all Conservative members of the Commons Media Select Committee, published in today's edition of The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian defending free speech.
Conservative Peer Coe, whose own private relationships have in the past come under scrutiny from the British tabloids, added his name to the list as Lord Justice Leveson is set to recommend draconian new laws that could muzzle the press when he delivers his report on the media tomorrow.
Cameron ordered the inquiry after the discovery of widespread illegal hacking of voicemails at News International's News of the World, Britain's biggest selling Sunday tabloid, which Rupert Murdoch closed in July 2011 following the scandal.
The fear is it would be the biggest blow to press freedom in Britain for more than 300 years.
The British press is currently self-regulated through the widely criticised Press Complaints Commission.
"As Parliamentarians, we believe in free speech and are opposed to the imposition of any form of statutory control even if it is dressed up as underpinning," said the letter, which Coe has signed, along with Britain's former Sports Minister Kate Hoey, who is a member of the opposition Labour Party.
"No form of statutory regulation of the press would be possible without the imposition of state licensing - abolished in Britain in 1695."
Other senior politicians to sign the letter include Defence Minister Liam Fox and former Europe Minister David Davis.