David Cameron has been accused of “pre-judging” the outcome of the Leveson inquiry into press ethics by describing the Press Complaints Commission as “failed.”
The inquiry was set up by the Prime Minister to look into the future regulation of the industry in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
It is expected to recommend a new body to replace the PCC which Mr Cameron has branded “institutionally conflicted and inneffective.”
But media commentator and broadcaster Ray Snoddy said the watchdog did a good job and should be retained – with better funding and more powers.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Protecting the Media,’ the former presenter described the activities of phone-hackers as “entirely disgraceful.”
But he also accused Mr Cameron of “an outrageous piece of political expediency” in setting up the Leveson inquiry, saying he had also pre-judged the outcome by describing the PCC as a “failed” organisation.
Said Ray: “Save in one respect – dealing with illegal phone hacking – the PCC is not a failed organisation.
“It is one that has worked tirelessly to get fast, free, redress for those who have been subject to inaccurate or intrusive reporting without reasonable cause and you can actually make a strong case that on the whole press behaviour has improved over the past 20 years.”
Mr Snoddy also joined in the criticisms of Lord Justice Leveson’s panel of industry experts.
“There is not a member with a second’s experience on a tabloid newspaper, using the old definition, and no-one from the local or regional press,” he said.
“There are however no less than two retired political editors in George Jones and Elinor Goodman.”
His comments echo those of fellow media commentator Roy Greenslade who has also questioned the lack of regional perss representation on the panel.