Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on Press Standards, the country’s longest-serving national newspaper editor called for a single press card that would serve as a “kite mark for ethical journalism.”
He said such a register would be an effective means of ensuring newspaper companies sign-up for self-regulation.
Under his proposal, any that did not would find its journalists unable to gain accreditation and thereby barred from covering key events.
Said Paul: “The key would be to make the cards available only to members of print newsgathering organisations or magazines who have signed up the new body and its code.
“The public at large would know journalists carrying such cards are bone fide operators committed to a set of standards and a body to who complaints can be made
“Reporters and photographers would use the cards as proof that they’re responsible journalists.”
Paul said that to make the system work, there would need to be a “universal agreement” that only acrcredied journalists should be admitted to government briefings, police press conference and even post-match interviews at football games.
His proposals will be seen as a potential alternative to statutory regulation of the industry by the government.
Senior ministers and inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson himself are believed to favour such a system.