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

I'm not an expert on media and media policy, so I approach this with some reserve, but I do have a view on the shape that I think the future media regulation should take, and I think the way I would approach it would be to say that there are two kind of archetypes. One is a kind of state-regulated system, like Ofcom, but applied to the press, and I think I would take the view that that is too intrusive and would compromise press freedom and the freedom of people to pursue investigative journalism. I wouldn't want to go down that road.

But equally, a wholly permissive system presents problems of its own and I guess the reason why you're having this Inquiry is partly because a very permissive self-regulatory system has not worked well, and that what we're ideally looking for is somewhere between those two extreme archetypes, and I did suggest very cautiously, because I don't have a strong basis of my own, that my party's view had something to commend it, and that broadly is that you have a statutory architecture, possibly by analogy with, say, the medical profession, under which you have a legal framework in which it's possible to apply disciplinary sanction, but within that framework the profession, in this case the industry, is self-regulating, and it's trying to capture some the advantages of regulation and self-regulation.

I'm not sure I can pursue that argument in great -- I've seen similar types of models operating in Western Europe, Germany has a similar kind of model, but their whole legal system is quite different, so I wouldn't push that too far.

It's clear that there are issues that do need addressing at present. I would advocate, for example, that if people are defamed, that rather than go through our complex legal system, that they have the right of reply, would be the kind of innovation I'd like to see.

I think a hybrid structure with a statutory framework and a self-regulating professional system within it seems to me to make broad sense.

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