Insight and analysis from Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford

Press Gazette online poll finds slim majority in favour of new statutory press regulator

 

A second Press Gazette poll on the future of press regulation has suggested a slim majority among readers of this website in favour of a new independent statutory press regulator being set up.

Some 311 votes were cast with 51 per cent saying that the press should be regulated by “an independent regulator set up via legislation”.

Some 42 per cent favour a reformed system of self regulation and 6 per cent said ‘other’ with many suggesting that existing laws are more than sufficient to regulate the UK press.

Such online polls are not remotely scientific and obviously vulnerable to being hi-jacked by campaign groups. And it is worth noting that several opponents of statutory regulation contacted me to complain that they could not vote because the poll was restricted to one vote per IP address. This meant that computers in the same building which shared the same IP address were unable to vote.

But whatever the shortcomings of the exercise, it is undeniable that the future of press regulation remains a deeply divisive issue for the industry.

Given that, it is encouraging PCC chairman Lord Hunt has promised to meet press reform campaigners in the weeks after the publication of the Leveson report in an attempt to reach consensus on the way forward.

So far the Hunt/Black plan for a reformed PCC has failed to win over either the victims of press excesses or the likes to Hacked Off and the NUJ.

If Lords Hunt and Black and the press owners can come up with a reformed version of PCC2 which addresses concerns raised by campaigners about genuine independence and plurality of input that could be the ideal solution.

Surely even the most staunch critics of the press would recognise that a genuinely independent press regulator set up by the industry would be preferable to one created by the state.

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