Lord Grade, chairman on the BBC from 2004-2006, today warned against tighter press restrictions being made as a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to the hacking scandal.
He said in a Lords debate: “The knee-jerk reaction to the current scandal is that newspapers have been drinking in the Last Chance Saloon of self-regulation for so long that it is now well past chucking out time.
“The Press has always set its face against statutory regulations, dismissing the idea as the enemy of free speech.”
The member of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which David Cameron is calling to be scrapped and Ed Miliband has described as a ‘toothless poodle’, continued: “The PCC brokers hundreds and hundreds of effective desist actions to editors at the request of innocent members of the public who suddenly find themselves at the centre of a media storm.
“This can mean the withdrawal of reporters and photographers from someone's pavement, the editor's agreement not to publish something, (or) an agreement to desist from approaching an individual or family for comment.
“This happens in multiple cases every single week.
“Ordinary members of the public derive huge satisfaction from the power of the PCC to influence newspapers and to influence their behaviour ahead of publication.
“This is the untold good news story of the current self-regulating regime. This must not be lost.
“It is the self-evident and overwhelming argument against statutory regulation.”