Philosophy professor urges against any attempt to regulate Press ethics

REGULATION of the Press should remain as it is and should not involve the State, because it is not for the State to adjudicate on ethics – writes a professor of applied philosophy in today’s Scotsman newspaper.

Says Professor Hugh McLachlan, the current Press Complaints Commission does adjudicate, to a certain extent, on the behaviour of its members. However, its policing powers are necessarily limited.

The professor of applied philosophy at the Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University is writing in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards, which issued its recommendations in November.

Last month, a five-strong panel was appointed to consider how Leveson’s report might be implemented in Scotland, because Press regulation is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

He writes: “Ethics and the law are different. Parliament has the role of passing laws. The police and the courts have the roles of enforcing them. However, no-one has the authority to enforce, regulate, or administer morality and no-one should be allocated such a role.”