Industry to unveil draft contacts for new press watchdog

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A draft contract binding publishers to a tougher form of self-regulation will be presented to Press Complaints Commission chairman Lord Hunt this week.

The industry has pulled together an “implementation group” of around 60 representatives from across the newspaper and magazine sectors, tasked with drawing up plans for a new-look regulator that is “Leveson compliant” but, crucially, rejects the notion of statutory underpinning.

Hunt, who referred to the new system as the “Leveson model”, told a media briefing last week that he was committed to producing what Lord Justice Leveson referred to as the “ideal outcome” when his report was published last month.

On page 1,769 the judge wrote: "It is worth repeating that the ideal outcome is a satisfactory independent regulatory body, established by the industry, that is able to secure the voluntary support and membership of the entire industry and thus able to command the support of the public.”

 The implementation group is due to show Lord Hunt its draft contact at a meeting in London on Thursday morning. To “maintain the momentum” of the process a further meeting has been scheduled for 10 January.

“The industry wants to endorse Leveson,” said Hunt. “There is a window of opportunity in which to do that.

“I believe newspapers and magazines in print and online now accept that there is no third way. I want to see a Leveson compliant model.”

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