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

Well, no, because that was -- I don't know how I could apply this point to press content regulation. The beauty of the advertising system was that the three legs of the stool, the advertisers, the agencies and the media, had a mutual interest in the credibility of commercial communication. They were all in it together. And so if an advertiser said, "Well, two fingers to the ASA, I'm taking no notice of you", they simply didn't get space in the papers.

I've been searching for what is the equivalent principle that binds all the participants in the newspaper business together. You would hope that it would be about a search for truth, and an editorial independence, and all those good things. It seems to be about being allowed to continue drinking in the last-chance saloon and the politicians wouldn't dare to do anything else.

I'm not in favour of statutory regulation of the press, and I'm speaking purely personally here, but self-regulation will only survive if it's credible. If it's lost the confidence of the public, then something has to give, and different arrangements have to be put in place. But if you don't have credibility, you can make all the speeches you like about self-regulation, and you get back to the observation of the LSE professor who said, being a sceptic, that self-regulation in some circumstances had as much relationship to regulation as self-righteousness does to righteousness.

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