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Culture secretary to bring forward plans for press regulation backed by law

Culture secretary Maria Miller has informed MPs of the decision to move forward with a new system of press regulation backed by law following a decision to reject the industry’s own plans for self-regulation.

This would see newspapers forced to participate in the new system, backed by Royal Charter, under pain of ‘exemplary’ damages in libel cases.

The Charter will see creation of an independent panel to oversee a self-regulatory body which would have the power to levy fines of as much as £1m and dictate positioning of apologies and corrections.

In a statement to MPs Miller said: “The Committee of the Privy Council is unable to recommend the press's proposal for a Royal Charter be granted. Whilst there are areas where it is acceptable, it is unable to comply with some fundamental Leveson principles and Government policy, such as independence and access to arbitration. In the light of this, we will be taking forward the cross-party Charter which was debated in this House."

The cross-party plan is to be put before the Privy Council on 21 October for consideration.

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