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Lord Black criticises Royal Charter plans

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By John Glenday | Reporter

March 26, 2013 | 2 min read

Lord Black, publisher of the Telegraph, has spoken out against plans for a press Royal Charter saying that it has been cooked up without proper scrutiny and will lead to a ‘constitutional nightmare’.

Speaking to the House of Lords Black also stuck the boot into plans to introduce exemplary damages against papers which lose libel cases as ‘shotgun legislation’ and warned that a second clause would see publishers landed with bearing the cost of legal action – even if they won.

Black complained: “They were cobbled together late at night – over pizza and Kit Kats – with no thought for the legal and constitutional issues involved," adding that the proposals would be a "hammer blow to investigative journalism".

Switching his ire to an ‘unrepresentative lobby group of celebrities’ Black railed: “These amendments are wrong in principle and fundamentally flawed. They are almost certainly illegal and so will not endure. They deal with problems of an analogue past and are – in the words of the Guardian – 'illiterate about the internet'. They will either collapse or be struck down in Europe. They are a constitutional nightmare."

All other newspaper groups have voiced opposition to the amendments on the grounds that they contravene article 10 of the European convention of human rights.

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