A petition has been lodged on the Downing Street website calling for the Press Complaints Commission to be abolished in its present form.
More than 1,600 people have already added their names to list which campaigners hope will lead to the PCC being reconstituted as a public body subject to freedom of information laws.
The petition’s launch message reads: “Following the article in the Daily Mail on Friday 16 October by Jan Moir in relation to the death of Stephen Gately, the PCC received over 21,000 complaints; however the chairman the Code committee for the PCC is currently the editor of the Daily Mail Paul Dacre.
“As the formula one boss Max Mosley said when giving evidence to the culture, media and sport committee at the House of Commons ‘It’s like putting the mafia in charge of the local police station. You can’t let them regulate themselves’.
“The PCC was weakened by preferential treatment to the newspaper industry and it lacked sufficient powers to appropriately deal with cases.
“The government needs to abolish the current PCC and relaunch the committee as a public body so the public can have faith in the PCC once again.”
Both the National Union of Journalists and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom have previously campaigned for the PCC to be designated a public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act.
The deadline for signing the petition is 19 December. The PCC declined to comment on this story.