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April 14, 2015

Green Party manifesto includes pledge to scrap RIPA and threat of Leveson legislation

By William Turvill

The Green Party’s 2015 general election manifesto has called for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to be scrapped, citing its failure to protect journalistic sources. (Picture: Reuters)

The party, which according to YouGov currently has around 6 per cent of the British public’s support, has also indicated its support for state-underpinned regulation of the press – if publishers can't be persuaded to sign up to a Leveson-compliant regulator. 

Like Labour, the Greens have also called for rules on cross-media ownership to be tightened and for the BBC to be protected.

The manifesto, released today, said the party would aim to: “Tighten the rules on cross-media ownership and ensure that no individual or company owns more than 20 per cent of a media market.”

On regulation it said the party would: “Support the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and for the cross-party Royal Charter.

“But if this is not supported by all the major newspapers we will support legislation to implement that Leveson system of independent press self-regulation.”

Also in the media section, on page 61, it said the Green Party would: “Maintain the BBC as the primary public service broadcaster, free from government interference, with funding guaranteed in real terms in statute to prevent government interference.”

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The Green Party also pledged to replace RIPA, saying it has failed: “to regulate the deployment of undercover police; to support the confidentiality of journalistic sources; to support legal confidentiality; and to enshrine an open and effective right of redress.”

After it emerged that the Metropolitan Police had used RIPA to secretly obtain the phone records of Sun journalists, Press Gazette revealed several other incidents of forces misusing the act in similar ways.

In September, Press Gazette launched the Save Our Sources campaign, calling for police forces to require judicial approval before obtaining journalistic phone records. This has now been passed into law.

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