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

I'm not in favour of state licensing. I think that the -- as much as I regret saying it, I think the Press Complaints Commission has become tarnished in the eyes of the public. It is what the words say on the tin. It's a receptacle for complaints, and it ought to be -- I think the industry now recognises, and certainly when the editors meet and we talk among ourselves, we now recognise that there is need for substantial reform.

What I'm profoundly against is state intervention, state control of the media. I think if we can find a formula so that all the newspapers are brought within the new body -- I think much is made of this, but the government has a way of defining newspapers for VAT purposes, and so if they can be defined and brought in, that might need a small statute. They are then in the body, whatever this body is called. It is then enshrined in every journalist's employment contract and every condition of payment for a freelancer that they abide by the code of this new body and failure to abide by the code may lead to disciplinary measures, and in the case of employed journalists, those employed by the news organisations, as opposed to freelancers, it could mean that they lose their job.

I certainly would advocate fining the newspapers and I think this new body should be far more proactive. The example I give -- I would have dearly loved in the Johann Hari case to have passed the Johann Hari file to the PCC and said, "There you are, you look at this, I will respect this, because it won't damage --" I mean, I wouldn't be sitting here -- it's not standing, you're standing -- I wouldn't be sitting here being accused of a cover-up if I'd passed the file to the PCC and they'd come back with a verdict on Johann that I followed. There's no means in the system for doing that.

If you look at -- I mean, we all sort of in a way poke fun at slightly anachronistic organisations like the Jockey Club. The Jockey Club has a way of dealing with jockeys. The Law Society has a way of dealing with solicitors. The GMC -- if you're a hospital manager and you suspect negligence, you go to the GMC and they look into it and they might move against a doctor. There is nothing in our industry for that.

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