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Press regulation comes under conference spotlight

The issue of how the press should be regulated will be the central question to be examined at a conference which will also look at privacy issues and the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Speakers at the conference, to be chaired by Antony White QC, of Matrix Chambers, will include some of those who have been at the centre of the privacy and phone-hacking furore. These include solicitor Mark Lewis, who is representing a number of people currently involved in litigation relating to alleged phone-hacking by the now defunct Sunday tabloid, and Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell, who has consistently pointed out that the vast majority of the press has in fact done nothing wrong.

The issue of whether the press should be subject to statutory regulation or self-regulation will be discussed by a panel including Mark Lewis, Mr Satchwell, Pia Sarma, head of editorial legal at Times Newspapers Ltd, Will Gore public affairs director at the current regulator the Press Complaints Commission, and Heather Rogers QC a defamation and privacy specialist at Doughty Street Chambers.

The discussion will examine issues including whether statutory regulation could protect freedom of expression, the question of the public interest, and the penalties which should be available to those who breach any regulatory code.

In the afternoon a second panel – Mr Lewis, Ms Sarma and solicitor Jaron Lewis, of law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain – will examine the News of the World phone-hacking scandal and the privacy issues it raises, including whether there should be significant statutory changes on privacy and press regulation.

Other issues to be covered at the conference include User-Generated Content, for which Jaron Lewis will examine the privacy implications, the question of whether those who use social media websites such as Twitter can be said to be beyond the law in relation to privacy injunctions, and other areas of interest or concern.

Richard Spearman QC, of 4-5 Grays Inn Square will examine the issue of whether the super-injunction – a High Court order which bans reporting of the fact that it has been granted – has had its day, and whether social networking platforms have affected enforcement of such orders and the rules of contempt involved in breaching them.

Solicitor Mark Stephens, a partner with law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, will look at issues surrounding social media including using Twitter or blogging from courts, and child protection.

Seats or the conference, which qualifies for 5.75 CPD hours, cost £598.80, including VAT, if booked by September 1, £658.80, including VAT, if booked by September 19, and £718.80, including VAT, if booked after 19 September.

Those who cannot attend can buy the conference documentation for £299.

Bookings can be made by calling 0207 347 3573, e-mailing, or visiting the website at