Local newspaper editors in the constituencies of party leaders David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband and of Culture Secretary Maria Miller have all called for continued self-regulation of the press - the Newspaper Society reports.
Oxford Mail editor Simon O'Neill (Cameron):
Am I paranoid? You bet I am. There are people in power out there - politicians and public servants included – who utter fine words about democracy and accountability and then do all they can to cover up their corruption and hypocrisy. They have scores to settle.
The press does have a lot to answer for and, if truth be told, we have brought much of this upon ourselves. If Leveson flushes out the immoral, illegal and downright despicable practices of a small section of our industry, he will have done journalism and society as a whole a great service.
Editor of the The Star in Sheffield, Jeremy Clifford (Clegg):
We cannot allow decisions to be made by politicians who are fast and loose with their own words, such as Nick Clegg who describes the press on the one hand as ‘desperate animals around a disappearing waterhole’ and on the other: ‘The underlying strength of your newspapers seems to be growing rather than diminishing... you have rates of trust in what you produce which is the envy of many other parts of the media.’
“The point is that the likes of Mr Clegg draw a distinction between some of the national newspapers and the local media. But statutory legislation will not do so. Nor will it be able to constrain or regulate publishers outside of newspapers - by which I mean the internet and social media.
Editor of South Yorkshire Newspapers Graeme Huston (Miliband):
The breadth and weight of the existing legislation is complemented by the fact that we in the regional press at least, respect and adhere to the PCC code of conduct. And of course journalists, like everyone else, must obey the law.
In the face of suggestions of further regulation it should be noted that it is already a difficult and skilled job, in the framework of the controls described above, to hold those in public office to account.
Basingstoke's Gazette Newspapers editor Mark Jines (Miller):
Statutory regulation would be a shackle, and it will inevitably have an adverse impact on the ability of the press to act in the public interest. Yes, the press must behave in a fair, decent and responsible way – and that is what the vast majority of journalists do every day of their lives.
Any journalist, or press outlet, that fails to live up to recognised standards proposed by a new system of tough, independent self-regulation deserves to be dealt with and punished – and they would be.
To impose statutory regulation is akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The responsible majority of the press will suffer, but most of all, the people of this country, and our democracy, will suffer.