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PCC chairman says ‘there is a willingness to accept a fresh start’

By Hamish Mackay

February 1, 2012 | 2 min read

The chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), Lord Hunt, has declared that any parliamentary move to regulate newspapers would "open a Pandora's box" which could stifle freedom of speech.

BBC News reported that Hunt told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards yesterday that he had seen state regulation "go very badly wrong".

Hunt said he wanted to see the "participation of the whole industry in its own regulation".

BBC News quotes him as saying: "There are very strong views in Parliament that there must be stronger limits on the power of the press and this would therefore, in my mind, open a Pandora's box."

Asked by Lord Justice Leveson: "Do you think that Parliament might seek to use any form of legislation, however it was cast, as a way of controlling the press?", Hunt replied: "Yes, and they have told me so, many of them, in both houses."

Hunt claimed that newspaper self-regulation should ensure internal compliance and that complaints mechanisms should operate properly.

He also added that any regulator that was introduced should be able to deal with both complaints and mediation as well as auditing standards and compliance.

Hunt revealed that he had spoken to "the whole range of publications"about the matter, claiming; "I sense there is a willingness to accept a fresh start and a new body."

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