The Hull Daily Mail – David Davis MP is ‘firmly against’ newspaper watchdog
“In Short Howden and Haltemprice MP David Davis has said any press regulation should be conducted “first and foremost” by the industry itself.
MP David Davis has said he is “firmly against” tougher press regulation after several Conservative MPs suggested the creation of a new independent watchdog.
More than 40 Tories used an open letter last week to warn the Prime Minister against adopting a new system of self-regulation.
They are concerned Lord Justice Leveson, whose inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal will report later this month, will not go far enough in his recommendations.
Instead, they want a statutory body, like industry watchdogs Ofcom and Ofgem, to oversee the British newspaper industry.
But the Howden and Haltemprice MP told the Mail any press regulation should be conducted “first and foremost” by the industry itself.
He said: “There’s always a temptation for politicians to restrict the press. It’s an understandable temptation but one I think we should resist.
“Sure, the press often misbehaves but every five years or so, it also exposes some major scandal.
“My colleagues are making the opposite argument, but I don’t think they’re right.”
Instead, Mr Davis believes the existing Press Complaints Commission (PCC) could be “tightened up” to improve current regulation.
The signatories to last Friday’s letter, however, believe there are “fundamental weaknesses” in the current model which “cannot be ignored”. “To be credible,” they wrote, “any new regulator must be independent of the press as well as from politicians.” But Hull East MP Karl Turner said tougher regulation was now “absolutely necessary”, particularly after the way some tabloid newspapers handled the recent Jimmy Savile scandal.
He said: “The Tory Party now seems to be saying they’ll ignore whatever Lord Leveson recommends, but it’s about time we regulated more heavily “It’s time we were heading towards full regulation, in my opinion – it’s a nettle we have to grasp.”
Lord Black, who chairs the PCC’s funding body, told the Leveson Inquiry he wanted a form of “muscular” self-regulation, meaning an organisation with the power to launch investigations and levy fines of up to £1m.
The Leveson Inquiry heard evidence on phone-hacking from celebrities and victims of crime as well as testimonies about the close relationship between some politicians and the media.
Mr Davis said there was a bigger consideration at stake.
He said: “Countries that regulate the press are noticeably less free in some respects than others.
“Although it’s uncomfortable having a free press, it’s a necessary part of our democracy.”
6,000 pages of evidence produced over 97 days THE Leveson inquiry was prompted by a phone-hacking scandal engulfing the News Of The World.
Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice over eight months, 650 people, from Prime Minister David Cameron to author JK Rowling, gave evidence.
More than 6,000 pages of evidence were produced during its 97 days of sittings.
The inquiry was set up after it emerged journalists from the News Of The World had hacked into the mobile phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler.
The scandal led to the closure of the newspaper and the demise of Rebekah Brookes, former chief executive of the newspaper’s owners News International.
The inquiry is due to report on media culture, practice and ethics before the end of the year.
Countries that regulate the press are less free MP David Davis”