Yes. There's an inequality of power. By the way, both -- between newspapers themselves, but also, of course, between newspapers and their readers and also between newspapers and members of the wider society. So my argument really is that when press proprietors and press editors argue in favour of press freedom, which is of course something we're all in favour of, press freedom is very much kind of hurrah words, in fact what they're really doing is they're arguing for a property right. They're really saying, "Look, it's my newspaper and I will do with it as I damn well please."
It seems to me that in a democracy, that really isn't good enough. There have to be certain kinds of responsibilities and duties laid upon newspapers and I would argue, and I argued in that submission, that one of the most important ones is the one which is actually enshrined in the very first clause of the Press Complaints Commission Code, which is the duty to be accurate.
I don't want to go on too much about the Press Complaints Commission, but it is an absolute fact that the vast majority of complaints which the PCC receive are not about privacy at all. That's something in the region of 20 per cent. The vast amount of complaints that the PCC receive, about 70 per cent, are about accuracy.
My point here would be if people are not able to receive accurate information about things of public interest, how are they supposed to function as citizens of a democracy? So what's happening, in fact, is that press proprietors -- and there's nothing particularly new about this, by the way -- have traditionally used their newspapers to propagate either their own views or views which are in one way or another convenient and useful to them. There is nothing new about complaints about press proprietors because one of the very, very few British politicians ever to stand up to the press in this country was a Conservative Prime Minister standing up to a largely Conservative press and that was Stanley Baldwin, and that of course is where that expression, you know, what the press barons want is the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages, power without responsibility -- and that's largely what they've got. Those lines I believe were written by Kipling for Baldwin, who was his cousin.
That, I thinks is the title of the book by James Curran and Jean Seaton, Power Without Responsibility, which in my view, at least, remains the best book on the current state of the British media. It's a very, very good book in terms of the empirical detail which is in it, but it's also, as the title suggests, a critical book as well.
I think what's needed here in journalism studies and media studies generally is a really good mixture of detailed empirical research like the kind that's carried out at Cardiff that we've heard about, but also which has some kind of reputable theoretical basis to it. The basis of my own work would be very much in kind of critical political economy, and that's the perspective that this comes at you from.
But to return to the question, I don't think that really a conception of press freedom, which is in the end merely a property right, is one that I personally would want to defend.
I mean, the organisation which I chair is called the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, but that was really founded in the 1970s, partly by -- mainly, in fact, by journalists and print workers who were concerned that their freedom to operate properly as journalists and print workers was being increasingly constrained and narrowed by press proprietors, but particularly Rupert Murdoch.