Downing Street has been alerted by Sir Christopher Meyer to expect a backlash from regional newspaper editors to the proposed curbs on access to coroners' inquests..
"If I was a regional editor I would be worried about this," the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission and former Downing Street press secretary told Westminster journalists this week.
The new law, he said, would further encroach on traditional reporting. On his visits around the country, he said, regional editors were expressing concern that staple reporting was being squeezed.
The Data Protection Act was affecting police reporting and efforts to secure information from hospitals.
"You cannot even find out about crimes and road accidents in the same way as before," Meyer told a Parliamentary Press Gallery lunch. "The reaction among regional newspapers will be very similar if this kind of restriction is brought in to reporting of inquests."
While he acknowledged the publication of personal details upset families, he said: "On the other hand, you don't want the sort of statute which in the end makes it almost impossible for the press to report any kind of inquest."
"On the other hand you don't want the sort of statute which in the end makes it almost impossible for the press to report any kind of inquest."