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

It's -- it's -- it's very difficult. And to a certain extent -- let me say, let me -- I'm not arguing for lighter regulation of the press, at all. I wouldn't want anyone here to take that away. I'm warning against overregulation of the press and I have explained the background, the competitive background as to why that concerns me.

As regards the broader Internet, and clearly I don't see -- you know, MailOnline is on the same footing as an individual blogger or certainly not some individual tweeter, and I -- and I think to a certain extent we as a society have to accept that the world has changed. The Internet is a very disruptive medium. It's disrupted many businesses, including newspapers. We're hoping to make the best of it. But it also disrupts not just newspapers, it disrupts politics, the law, and I think it's a great engine for democratisation. It allows people to know more about things that previously they were not privy to than they ever did before.

It allows everyone, as I said, through Twitter or wherever, to have their say, and quite frankly there are people in the political establishments, legal establishments and even journalistic establishments who are pretty uncomfortable with that. We all pay lip service to democracy and freedom, but when it comes right down to it, I think some people, the elite in this country, are uncomfortable with it.

But even though there is a downside, it allows people to be irresponsible to a certain extent, and be unpleasant to a certain extent. The upside, in the fact that how it engages people in -- in the matters of the day, how it engages people with each other, the commercial opportunities it offers to businesses, not just media businesses but all sorts of businesses that seek to compete with the rest of the world, I think outweigh the problems that it causes, and, you know, we used to get -- we used to get quite upset -- or the media used to get excited when there would be some kind of storm on the Twittersphere and 20,000 people would complain about something, until it happened half a dozen times and you just realise that's the Internet. It's not -- it's sometimes -- because we're used to dealing in an analogue world, in a print world, when the same thing happens online, it seems blown out of proportion.

So my answer is this: the press endures tighter regulation than our competitive press abroad, particularly in America. We have no problem with that, I don't complain about that, but I would prefer not to see it get any worse. The law of the land should be enforced, whether it be a journalist abusing the law or an individual taking to Twitter to break the law. Whether it be racist abuse or sexual abuse or revealing somebody's address, the law should be -- the law as it stands should be enforced, within the bounds of free speech.

So now if you would like to sketch out for me a bigger problem that needs solving, then obviously I can address that, but you're asking me -- you're saying what is the -- how do we regulate the Internet? My question is: do you need to regulate the Internet? Any more than you need to have a policeman standing in the corner of every pub watching what everyone says.

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