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Regional press bosses hint at separate regulator

Regional press industry bosses have outlined ‘fundamental concerns’ with the government’s proposed Royal Charter on press regulation – and hinted they may set up their own press regulator.

Newspaper Society president Adrian Jeakings has written to John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee, after the NS gave evidence to the committee last month.

He wrote:  “All categories of newspapers – including small weekly newspapers – will be required to finance and be bound by a ‘recognised’ regulator if they are to obtain some protection from the new exemplary damages and cost rules which have been introduced.

“This will create a substantial financial burden for regional and local newspapers and force them into a system of regulation and control which is inequitable given their behaviour and conduct was exonerated by Lord Justice Leveson.

“It is regrettable that discussions with the Secretary of State and DCMS officials have to date indicated that there would not be the flexibility for regional and local newspapers to create their own system of independent regulation with separate recognition and compliance criteria.”

The NS has published its own proposals for a system of press regulation underpinned by Royal Charter following the cross-party proposals agreed with campaign group Hacked Off in March.