Competition from bloggers and Twitter users could contribute to falling standards among conventional media, Lord Justice Leveson has warned.
In a speech at the University of Melbourne, Leveson asked the question of what needs to change to ensure criminal and civil law remain effective for both conventional and internet media.
Describing bloggers and tweeters as an “electronic version of pub gossip”, Leveson rejected the belief that bloggers are not held to the same laws as traditional journalists.
However, the law must be applied to bloggers equally, otherwise there will be an inevitable decline in standards from journalists competing at a disadvantage, said Leveson.
“If we are to ensure that appropriate standards are maintained, we must meet these challenges, and ensure that the media… is not placed at a disadvantage where the enforcement of the law if concerned.”
Leveson also took the opportunity to mark out the phone hacking at the News of the World out as an example of illegal activity, and added that he would be surprised if it hadn’t been happening elsewhere.