Media commentator and journalism professor Roy Greenslade has thrown his backing behind calls for the regional press to be represented on the forthcoming inquiry into press ethics.
The inquiry under chairman Lord Justice Leveson was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal earlier this year.
The judge will be aided by a six-person panel of advisers which includes two former national political journalists but no regional or local press representatives.
Now Roy, a former Mirror editor who is now professor of journalism at City University, has added his weight to the bid to widen the panel’s membership.
Writing on his blog, he described the current composition of the panel as “fundamentally flawed.”
“I completely understand the complaint from Associated Newspapers about the failure to have any representative of the tabloid or mid-market newspapers on the panel of advisers. But there are other gaps too,” he said.
“Why has Lord Justice Leveson not appointed someone from the non-mainstream media world (aka a blogger)? And why have the regional press been excluded from offering the benefit of their advice?”
Roy suggested Lord Justice Leveson risked undermining the credibility of his own inquiry unless he addressed the issues.
“I think he needs to take on board some of the mounting criticisms at this early stage in order to avoid deeper criticisms much later,” he said.
“Other questions spring to mind. Who was responsible for selecting the six advisers? Who advised on the advisers? On what criteria were they chosen?
“Given the hugely important matter in hand – the future of press regulation and its consequences for our democracy – there needs to be maximum transparency over the whole process.”