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

You can take the best and the worst. I think extending Ofcom won't work for a number of reasons, not least because we don't want to license the press. The reason Ofcom works in the end is because the ultimate sanction is you can take the broadcast licence away, and that's the root of its effectiveness.

But I think you can take the good bits of Ofcom, which is that it is an effective regulatory system, that it has set up a mechanism for dealing quickly with problems, with complaints around ethical issues, and I used in my evidence the example of Carlton Television. It was discovered by the Guardian to have faked large sections of its documentary in 1996 and they ended up paying £2 million to the regulator.

There is absolutely the issue of compulsion, and I don't know if you were planning to come onto that, but how do you persuade all the publications to come into this umbrella; and there has to be a implication of sticks and carrots, but my favoured solution is perhaps to have Ofcom as a sort of backstop regulator. There has to be something behind this new system, but preferably the new system would start by being self-regulatory. It would be operated and run by those within the industry for the industry, including, as we know happens with the Press Council in Ireland, working journalists. That seems to work very well.

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