The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I base what I say on my experience as a managing editor and I think that a system of regulation that is really going to work effectively has to balance an externally imposed deterrent, if you like. With an internal incentive and unless the deterrent and the incentive are properly balanced, you won't get a sustainable effect of the kind you need.

I think that what we need to do, instead of concentrating so hard on reforming the self-regulation mechanism, which happens to be the one that exists, we should start by thinking about the legal context in which as I've already said I think public interest defences are rather weakly put. I think there is quite a lot of revision that needs to be done there, both -- and it's under way in the defamation law, I think it should happen in privacy law and I think there has to be access to quicker, cheaper justice for people who are using those kinds of law as complainants.

I think the expansion of the public interest defence is really important because I want to see a form of regulation which arises from people's wish to do things better rather than simply from the imposition of external penalties or indeed the imposition of external investigation. And I think that if you say that it is easier to access a public interest defence in a case such as defamation or privacy probably being the two most prominent principal ones here, then I think if that public interest defence depended partly on the integrity of your editorial systems, or more generally, the integrity of your newsroom and what you could demonstrate about it, did you have self-disciplines that prevented people doing things wrong, do you show how that operates, are you clear about what your code is, how do you respond to complainants and so on, that I think would be a more effective way of growing up a system that might be called regulation or it might be called self-regulation.

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