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Politicians don’t care about social media injustice, says PHA Media’s Phil Hall

18th January 2013

It is my view that, while in principle people power is to be applauded, it is also extremely dangerous.

We represent a client who run holidays to see Santa in Lapland. The brochures clearly state it is an authentic wilderness experience – real reindeer in their natural setting, Santa in a small authentic locations with husky rides all thrown in.

In any trip to a snowbound location there is the risk of flight delays and sometimes a deep freeze. But do skiers blame the tour company? No they accept the risk.

Recently, the client had a trip. Freakish weather dropped to minus 34. The flights were delayed by two hours and things were not easy in Lapland, but the trip went ahead.

A handful of travellers were miffed. They began posting on Facebook. They complained that Santa had a false beard (yes really); they complained a dad was asked for a driving licence before he could drive a snowmobile (it is the law in Lapland); they complained the souvenir shop ran out of goods (it did not).

They were joined by complainers who had not even been on the trip.

The client was damaged. Future travellers besieged their HQ. Some cancelled. The reality was the client had received two complaints all season!

If we are going to police the press, who are already bound by so many rules, regulations and laws, the internet must also have checks and balances in place. It is wrong that good, honest businesses are being affected by unfettered people power.

These issues are increasing every day – look at the Lord McAlpine Twitter scandal late last year.

Why is the government doing nothing while tying the press in knots? I believe it is because the media witch hunt is mostly about getting political control of an industry that holds the government to account.

And thereby lies another concern. The internet has little political influence because readers tend to read only what they are looking for. Newspapers open eyes to a subject you may not even know exists. Let's hope for that reason Leveson is not the beginning of the end for newspapers.

Phil Hall was editor of the News of the World and is chairman of PHA Media. Phil writes a regular column for

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