Lord Black: PCC should have power to impose fines

Telegraph Media Group executive editor and Pressbof chairman Lord Guy Black has backed a ‘fining element’to be introduced in a new self-regulatory regime for the press.

In evidence to the Leveson inquiry he said the phone-hacking scandal had ‘laid bare for the first time the very real lack of powers that exist within the self-regulatory system to conduct investigations”.

Pressbof is the body which effectively runs the PCC and which collects the levies from the industry which fund it.

“I think it took a scandal like that to show us that we needed a new body which could enforce the terms of the code,’Black said.

“So it is that which has led me to a change of view.”

While he conceded that urgent reform was needed, he denied that the PCC was only concerned with maintaining the ‘status quo”.

“I have never recognised status quo in terms of where the Press Complaints Commission has got to,’he said.

‘It’s changed in every year of its existence,” he said.

“What we are looking at now of course is more fundamental change and starting in many ways from scratch but up until this point, I’ve always thought that the Press Complaints Commission and self-regulation is a living entity which has changed dramatically in response to events.”

Lord Black also claimed that the newspaper industry had expressed a “real desire” for ‘meaningful change” to the PCC

“The appetite for change is a very real one,” he said.

‘As an industry, we are very committed to self-regulation, and we are proud of our self-regulation but we have seen that it has weaknesses.

“We need to bring forward proposals for radical change.”

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