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

Yes. I sit on the Reform Committee of the Press Complaints Commission, so I've given a fair amount of thought to this. I don't want to pre-empt what I hope will be the reaction of the industry as a whole, but I think it's very clear to me that what the phone hacking episode showed was that the Press Complaints Commission under its existing constitution didn't have a proper means for dealing with the systematic problems at a newspaper or any other publication. It was and is a complaints body. There was no complaint about phone hacking, because people who had been victim of it preferred to go down the legal route.

The PCC did ask News International whether it went beyond Clive Goodman. They assured the PCC it didn't. We didn't have really a proper means of testing whether there was any substance to that assurance.

So I think most definitely whatever body replaces the PCC needs to continue the complaints mediation and prepublication work that the existing PCC does very effectively, but it also needs a standard and compliance arm which would be able to call editors and other newspaper executives in to give evidence about things that have been happening at their newspapers and, if necessary, impose sanctions if editors refuse to co-operate or give false evidence, and to issue, where evidence has been given truthfully and willingly, to issue reports and possibly even in those cases impose sanctions, both to inform the rest of the industry about what has happened and prevent it happening elsewhere, and to make sure that from the publication in question it doesn't happen again.

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