J.K. Rowling and “Potter” stars speak up in favor of British press regulation

More than two hundred British celebrities, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), David Tennant (Barty Crouch, Jr), Alfonso Cuaron (director, Prisoner of Azkaban), and John Cleese (Nearly Headless Nick) have backed a declaration urging the British press to uphold a royal charter agreement, which was reached over a year ago.

J.K. Rowling previously gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry and has spoken out at her disappointment at the response to the evidence. She has also previously added her name, alongside John Cleese, to Hacked Off campaigns. The charter itself was “based on the findings of the Leveson Inquiry in U.K. media ethics and standards that was launched amid the phone-hacking scandal.”

With no new system being launched, the Hacked Off campaign has been running ads “to mark the one-year anniversary of the political agreement that calls for a so-called royal charter to underpin a system of self-regulation.”

The ads, which appeared in a number of British newspapers, feature a declaration, which says,

“We believe that a free press is a cornerstone of democracy, […] It should be fearless in exposing corruption, holding the powerful to account and championing the powerless. It has nothing to lose, and can only be enhanced, by acknowledging unethical practice in its midst and acting firmly to ensure it is not repeated.”

John Cleese said,

“The big newspaper bosses are lying though their teeth about the Leveson recommendations. They say their freedom is being threatened, but when anyone points out what self-serving rubbish this is, they ignore these arguments and instead attack the people who are trying to get the truth heard. Their unscrupulousness is breathtaking.”

Find out more about the campaign here. What are your thoughts? Should the British press be regulated?