What the papers are saying about press regulation – Media and Blog round up: March 19th 2013

19th March, 2013 10:55 am

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Press Regulation – what the papers are saying

“The deal done should unblock the government’s legislative programme, and secure early passage of a defamation bill, a potentially momentous advance for free speech. But doubts continue to linger, not only about powerful titles setting up secessionist self-regulators but also about fears of ruinously punitive damages for publications prospectively outside the system, such as Private Eye. After doing a deal among themselves, the politicians will breathe a sigh of relief and hope they can move on. But as the industry alights on grievances, both real and hyperbolic, the political class as a whole could discover that the brokering has only just begun.” – Guardian

“The near unanimity in Parliament yesterday in support of the new approach was a powerful indication of how far the press needs to move in order to restore faith in its regulatory structure. The three party leaders urged the newspaper industry to endorse the new dispensation as quickly as possible. However, after 318 years of a free press, its detail deserves careful consideration.” – Telegraph

“The Sun thinks celebrations are premature. Yes, it is welcome that Parliament seems to have stepped back from the worst case scenario — full-scale control of papers by politicians. And yes, The Sun is committed to tougher rules that safeguard the public. But much remains to be studied before the Royal Charter can be accepted as the foundation stone of new regulation.” – The Sun

“The final outcome is a clever one. The regulatory regime will rest on a Royal Charter, as is already used to oversee, for example, the BBC. There will be statute, but only a single clause – appended to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – which specifies that the charter can be amended only according to its own provisions, in this case a two-thirds majority of Parliament. Thus, the danger that press supervision would be at the whim of the Privy Council, as is usual with a Royal Charter, is neutered. The result is a regulator that is independent of the press and also, crucially, of ministers.” – Independent

Boris admits he wants to be PM

“Boris Johnson has admitted that he would like to be prime minister but insists “it’s not going to happen”. In a forthcoming BBC 2 documentary, the mayor of London says he thinks the job of PM is “very, very tough”.” – BBC

“In a BBC documentary, Mr Johnson said that he did not expect to lead, but would relish the prospect of being Prime Minister if it came about. “I think it’s a very tough job being prime minister,” he said. “Obviously, if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum — which it won’t — it would be a great, great thing to have a crack at. But it’s not going to happen.”” – Telegraph

Other highlights

  • A Lib/Lab thaw? – FT
  • The Budget and the Bloke in the Pub – Damian McBride
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