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

Let me say why it's always been a problem in a much less acute -- we always had newspapers who refused to pay their dues to the Press Complaints Commission and didn't want to be part of it, but they were all relatively small and the view I took was: if somebody complained about that newspaper, I didn't write to the person and say, "I'm afraid I can't deal with this. The newspaper hasn't joined the club"; I dealt with it as if they had joined the club because I thought it was in the interests of the Press Complaints Commission that we should deal with it, and that was perfectly easy to do when there were relatively few and they were relatively minor newspapers.

When you have the -- whatever it's called, Northern & Shell drop out, this is a very much more serious matter, and it didn't happen in my day, and I don't think self-regulation would work unless you have the full commitment of all the major papers, including them. And I think that David Hunt's idea of there being a contract, a legal contract so they have to contribute money to it means that the body gets the -- the PCC gets its funding, which is important, and if the newspapers don't want to co-operate with it, that doesn't stop -- it doesn't stop the PCC dealing with the complaint. It can deal with it. If they don't want to defend themselves, that's their problem.

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