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

Sir, in that case, I'll be very brief, because you're obviously, as you say, on the case already as far as this is concerned.

It's fairly recently established. It does have certain aspects which strike me as very useful. The ombudsman aspect gives that degree of independence that -- I like using the word -- independence that perhaps the grouping of editors doesn't convey in a system as well as putting it on a proper basis.

Secondly, the London titles of the Irish papers, even the Irish Star, which as I understand it is the Irish version of the Daily Star here, which doesn't ascribe to the PCC code, as I again understand it, but is a voluntary member of the Irish code. Given that the Irish title or Irish editions of the London press follow this code in Ireland, and I've seen nothing to suggest that the Irish press is not free and able to pursue things -- in fact, for those of us who know the Irish press, it is an extremely vigorous press indeed, plenty to be vigorous about recently, I suspect they would say, but they are an extremely vigorous press and therefore there can't be a suggestion that somehow papers which are operating under this code in Ireland would find a similar code unacceptable more generally.

Thirdly, and it's more controversial, I'm interested in the more recent move which has been to make abidance by the code in Ireland a partial defence on a defamation action. I'm not again a lawyer, but it does strike me as an interesting concept, which is I understand very recent in Ireland, but obviously it gives an incentive for people to follow the code, because it can be offered as a partial defence in a Defamation Act, although defamation would still be defamation, you're far better able to understand that than I --

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