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IPFS News Link • Free Speech

Lib Dems to propose law protecting journalism from state interference

•, Patrick Wintour

 right to protect journalism from state interference and an end to ministers appointing the heads of broadcasting regulators are set to be proposed by the Liberal Democrats in a new "first amendment"-style charter on press freedom to be outlined in the party's manifesto.

The Lib Dem policy document is expected to suggest there should be a new statutory recognition of journalism so that newspapers and other media are not required to rely solely on the freedom of expression rights as spelled out under article 10 of the European convention on human rights.

It has been argued by some media organisations that article 10 does not hold the same weight as first amendment of the American constitution, which states that it is illegal for the US Congress to pass any law "abridging the freedom of speech or of the press".

Article 10 of the ECHR guarantees the right "to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers". The wording, it is argued, reduces journalists' right to resist those seeking injunctions to prevent publication.