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

There's only been one that I know of so far. The Irish Press Council -- the Press Council of Ireland has national newspapers, lots of regional newspapers and magazines, I think just one sports news website so far. Of course, the UK publications that publish in Ireland have joined that council, even though it is recognised by statute, even though it is a different design. So, say, the Irish Sun, the Irish Daily Mail, are all members of that council. I think that's an important point, that when the opportunity was presented to those publications, and this was part of a decade-long debate about the reform of libel law in Ireland, it didn't come out of nowhere, and the press was generally comfortable with this co-regulatory solution as an alternative to statutory regulation.

The only other point I'd make there is that when we look at the PCC, we run the risk of neglecting how many types of regulation are happening within media. Although the system has improved a lot, it is still unusual that, say, if I were to take a camera and shoot something and try and sell it on the street on a DVD, to do so without classification would be a criminal offence.

I think, to take the point of earlier on, that is potentially an example of overregulation and the question that has to be asked is: is there a principled reason for DVDs to be treated with one very, very strong legal mechanism, broadcasting and other newspapers and other online perhaps a mix of them? I'm not suggesting that one size would fit all, I think that's something that's thrown around occasionally by political representatives because it sounds good, but I think there's a need to evaluate is there a correct correlation between the need for regulation associated with a particular medium and the system that we have?

That's the only thing I would say on the PCC, is that it's not operating and there's been a lot of tension between the PCC and the Video on Demand body which is a co-regulatory one over the regulation of AV material on a newspaper's website and Ofcom is currently trying to sort that one out, but you can see tensions like that developing, and a new PCC, if there were to be one, would have to engage with those issues. It couldn't simply say we know what the press is and we'll figure it out as we go along. Those lines of demarcation are very important to producers as well as to the wider public.

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