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

I'm not sure -- I accept what you say, sir, in that it's a prediction more than anything else. The dangers -- I hope I have given a reasonable fist of drawing upon the dangers of statutory elements to regulation around the world. I hope I have pointed out that we don't lack for laws where it comes to dealing with areas of wrongful behaviour. We have a reasonable code. Nobody in their right mind would argue that the PCC, whatever the reasons for that, has not -- nobody could remotely sympathise or even seek to explain its actions in the early part of the Milly Dowler case, in the McCanns' case. I was just as touched and horrified by the examples set out to you and the Inquiry in the first three or four weeks of evidence.

But I would simply argue that yes, there have been many last-chance saloons before, but with the right robust and considerable changes -- I've outlined some and you've had many other witnesses who better than me have outlined others -- a strong system of self-regulation -- you could have the ombudsman or the chair of the new regulator reporting to the DCMS Select Committee on the -- not on the individual judgments but on the general performance mechanisms of the regulator once a year. You can have all kinds of areas where, at every level, the behaviour, the standards and the compliance is rigorously monitored. I just -- and I think advocates of freedom of expression, mindful of foreign precedents and mindful of the weaknesses of the media, would just resist strongly and urge you not to go down the statutory route.

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