Prime minister Theresa May has shied away from an immediate confrontation with the British newspaper industry by electing to delay two critical decisions on press regulation until next year.
The move, announced by culture secretary Karen Bradley, will see another consultation paper run until 10 January in which the government will seek advice over whether it should strong arm newspapers into signing up to an approved regulator,
The document will also elicit views on whether to ressurect the second half of the Leveson Inquiry, after it was shelved last year by David Cameron amidst concern over mounting costs.
Bradley, appointed to the post during a government shake-up in July, commented: “The government is determined that a balance is struck between press freedom and freedom of the individual. Those who are treated improperly must have redress. Likewise politicians must not seek to muffle the press or prevent it doing legitimate work, such as holding us to account. And the police must take seriously its role in protecting not only its own reputation, but also those people it is meant to serve.”
The consultation could break the impasse over one of the chief impasses to the new regulator, which requires publishers to pay legal costs for both sides even in the event they win their libel case, by agreeing to either implement it, repeal it or press ahead with a partial introduction.