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BBC Lord Patten

BBC Trust chairman does not think newspapers should face statutory regulation

By Hamish Mackay

January 23, 2012 | 2 min read

The chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, has declared that he does not think newspapers should not face statutory regulation but explains why broadcasters do need regulation by Ofcom.

However, according to a report on the Mail Online website today, Patten says that newspaper editors needed to show they could put in place a credible system to police themselves.

Mail Online quotes a Patten interview with The Times in which he said: “It would be preferable not to have any statutory back-up because we should be able to exercise self-discipline in our plural society, which doesn’t involve politicians getting involved in determining matters of free speech.

“(That) is always going to raise suspicions that politicians or governments are trying to protect their own position.

He added: “It’s a more open, responsible and self-confident society that doesn’t give politicians any opportunity to prevent the accountability which goes with an interrogative, investigative press."

Patten told The Times he believed it was correct that broadcasters are more closely regulated.

Referring to images that showed Colonel Gaddafi's body after his death, he said it was correct they were not shown on television.

However, he said it was fine for newspapers to print them as parents who don't want their children to see the pictures can "put the newspaper away".

He also pointed out that no one had yet told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards how to produce a new system of regulation for the press without an Act of Parliament.

Patten was due to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry later today (Monday).

BBC Lord Patten

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