A senior regional editor is launching a fight to save the Press Complaints Commission from the threat of abolition in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
Premier David Cameron has called the press watchdog “ineffective,” “lacking in rigour” and “institutionally conflicted” and asked Lord Justice Leveson to come up with a new regulatory framework for the industry.
Now Nigel, pictured above, is urging fellow editors to lobby ministers to keep the PCC as the regional press watchdog while setting up a separate body for national newspapers.
He told HTFP: “I believe the PCC has had a really bad press in recent days, undeservedly so, and I am happy to leap to its defence.
“I think there does need to be a new body, with toughened up regulatory powers, but for the national newspaper industry.
“The PCC does a great job, if you ponder on just the regions, so don’t throw out the good the PCC does with the stale News of the World bathwater.
“We have real respect for the work of the PCC in the provinces – all of my journalists carry the PCC Code of Conduct with them at all times.
“Whilst I wouldn’t say we fear the PCC, we deeply respect the organisation and work very hard to resolve any issues.
“Recently I spent hours talking to the PCC about an unusual online complaint – the organisation has moved with the times – and after many letters and discussions with the complainant, via the PCC, we solved the issue.
“I would hate to see the PCC scrapped but I want it to retain all its powers to hold me and my journalists to account, just as we do those in positions of authority and trust.
“So let’s fight for the PCC in the provinces – and not disparage the good work it does.”
Mr Cameron named the members of the panel who will take part in the Leveson inquiry into press ethics earlier this week.
However although it contains two distinguished former national political journalists – George Jones of the Daily Telegraph and Elinor Goodman of Channel 4 News – there are no regional press figures on the panel.
- HoldtheFrontPage is currently carrying a poll on whether the PCC should be abolished. To take part, go to the homepage and scroll down the middle column.