A regional publisher has been praised in Parliament by Prime Minister David Cameron after an MP urged him not to allow the press to be “muzzled”.
The KM Group was praised by Mr Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions, who said the issues surrounding the behaviour of the press did not relate to the regional media.
He made the comments after Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson raised concerns that newspapers would be muzzled by statutory regulation when the much-awaited report by Lord Justice Leveson is published.
There have been fears raised within the industry that his report, which is expected to be released next week, will recommend a system of statutory regulation of the press.
Mr Cameron told the House of Commons he admired the work of the KM Group, which includes a number of weekly newspapers such as the Kent Messenger.
Mr Henderson said: “A free press is one of the cornerstones of a true democracy.
“Any attempt to muzzle newspapers, such as the excellent Kent Messenger in my own constituency should be strenuously resisted.”
Mr Cameron replied: “I join him in my admiration of the Kent Messenger Group in all that they do.
“It is an important point, because the problems we have had in our newspaper industry have not really been about regional and local titles that perform an incredibly important function in our democratic system.”
The KM Group has contacted all Kent MPs urging them to resist the prospect of statutory regulation of the press.
The Leveson Inquiry into press standards was established by the government in the wake of the phone hacking scandal at the News of The World.