Ivan Lewis causes Twitter outrage

by Danielle Randall

Ivan Lewis has been dealing with the backlash of his comment to have journalists “struck off” for malpractice. The comment was made during the Labour conference which was held in Liverpool and has resulted in Lewis being accused of wanting to create a state register for journalists. This has generated a lot of debate and outrage from the public, expressed via social media websites.

Mr. Lewis has now made a statement that his comment was taken out of context and that he does not support the idea of creating a register for journalists, however this still has not saved him from the barrage of comments via twitter expressing their outrage. Twitter users have taken to their accounts to show their disbelief over his words, expressing their opinion that the idea is “madness” while others have asked “Has Ivan Lewis MP gone insane?”. The response has been overwhelmingly negative over the issue with members of the public proclaiming that they are “very concerned over the idea”.

Following this social media backlash Lewis has expressed that he does not believe in creating a register for journalists and that his comment was in reflection of the recent Murdoch scandal and his belief that no journalist should be able to have so much control over the media or given the chance to exort their power in this way again. He even took to Twitter himself to defend his words with his tweet “I said industry should consider whether gross malpractice should lead to a journo being struck off and i oppose state oversight of press.”

This retraction has now been labelled on twitter as “fastest climbdown in history”, when asked about the social media response he replied “I regret the fact that there has been a response to something that I didn’t say.” He then claimed that he does not support the idea of creating a register and believes that the industry should hold decision over who may be “struck off”.

Whichever way Ivan Lewis’ comments have been taken, it is apparent that the rest of the UK are firmly opposed to creating any kind of register for journalists. With the popularity of websites such as twitter, facebook and blogging websites, citizen journalism is growing and empowering freedom of speech. The concept of restricting journalists would also have to seep into restricting the public. As it stands, there looks to be no support or desire to oppress the media, not even from Ivan Lewis himself.

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