City University journalism professor and former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade has “reluctantly” backed the idea of “state involvement” in the setting up of a new journalism regulatory body.
In evidence to the Leveson inquiry, Greenslade said parliament had a role in ensuring that the new system “has real teeth” – and he said this was essential if public confidence in British journalism is to be restored.
Greenslade said in his witness statement that national newspapers had a “track record of ethical malpractice” and added: “My inescapable conclusion is that the motor for bad press behaviour is commerce.”
He said: “I think self-regulation could, and should, have worked. It did not. I have struggled to come to terms with the need for some kind of state involvement.
“But, in order to clean the house and to restore public confidence in our journalism, I reluctantly agree that parliament will need to provide enough power to a regulatory system to ensure that it has real teeth.”
Appearing at the Leveson inquiry this morning, Greenslade added that while he was in favour of a statutory underpinning of the new regulator, the state should not have any say in its day-to-day operations, or who sits on the board.