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Jeakings steps up pressure over press controls

The president of the Newspaper Society has stepped up the campaign to the introduction of statutory press controls in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

Some government ministers, including deputy premier Nick Clegg, are believed to favour a new form of press regulation underpinned by statute.

But NS boss Adrian Jeakings, who is also chief executive of Archant, has challenged Mr Clegg over the issue.

In the latest of a series of letters to the deputy premier, he reiterated that the industry was opposed to any form of statutory framework and called for a meeting to discuss its concerns.

Wrote Adrian: “The local press is vehemently opposed to any form of statutory involvement or ‘underpinning’ in the regulation of the press, however arms-length from government it might appear to be.

“No government could ever guarantee non-interference nor prevent its successors from tightening or extending statutory controls.”

“It is inconceivable that any statutory regime could be established to regulate just a small section of the popular national press, imposing special controls and penalties on some publications and not on others.

“In practice, hundreds of responsible national, regional and local newspapers and magazines would find themselves swept up into a costly and wholly unnecessary system of legal controls and constraints which would have an enormous impact on their freedom to publish in the UK.”

The letter was sent in response to Mr Clegg’s reply to an earlier letter by the NS president on 11 October challenging Mr Clegg over comments that the press behaved like “animals.”

In his reply, the DPM explained that his remarks, first made at the Liberal Democrats party conference last month, applied to the national rather than the regional press.

The NS is part of the Free Speech Network, an alliance of UK, European and overseas publishers who have come together to protect freedom of expression against any threats to introduce a statutory backstop to press regulation.

It is hosting an event in London on Thursday chaired by broadcaster John Humphrys. For more information contact: admin@freespeechnetwork.org.uk.

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  • October 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm
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    Amuses me that newpaper proprietors who are quite prepared to interfere with editorial freedom get all uppity at the idea of anyone else doing so. Pots and kettles come to mind.

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  • October 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm
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    Joscaf is generally right about double standards by press chiefs. Nick Clegg apologised very soon after the comments and said he only really meant the “animal” hacks who’ve brought some disgrace on journos generally with their spiv like conduct. (Hacking etc).
    They make our jobs tougher and we join estate agents, used car salesmen and RC priests, plus Sir James Savile, as those most mistrusted and disliked.

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