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Press Complaints Commission Newspapers Leveson Inquiry

Associated Newspapers editor-in-chief defends PCC

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

October 12, 2011 | 2 min read

Associated Newspapers editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has said today it would be “disastrous” for any press watchdog to be given the power to impose fines, and that over-regulating would “put democracy itself in peril”.

Dacre launched his defence of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) as he addressed the latest seminar of the Leveson Inquiry ‘Supporting A Free Press And High Standards - Approaches To Regulation’, which was set up following the phone-hacking enquiry.

He announced a new corrections and clarifications column to be published on page 2 of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro.

Dacre said newspapers already faced considerable regulation, mentioning laws such as the Data Protection Act and the Bribery Act and the use of injunctions to block stories: “Today we are in danger of ignoring the fact that news does not grow on trees.

“News is often something that someone, the rich, the powerful, the privileged, does not want printed.”

He added: “There are thousands of decent journalists in Britain who don't hack phones, who don't bribe police and who work long anti-social hours for modest recompense because they passionately believe their papers give voice to the voiceless and expose the misdeeds of the rich, the powerful and the pompous.

“As long as the code is observed and no law is broken, papers should be free to publish what they believe is best for their markets.

“I would argue that Britain's commercially-viable free press, because it is in hock to nobody, is the only free media in this country.

“Over-regulate that and you put democracy itself in peril.”

Press Complaints Commission Newspapers Leveson Inquiry

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