Moore: hopes for new PCC direction
Even editors who have criticised the Press Complaints Commission believe Sir Christopher Meyer is a good choice as its new chairman.
The Daily Telegraph’s Charles Moore calls him an "intelligent practical, problem-solving sort of person" whom he hopes will restore the commission’s "damaged" reputation.
Alan Rusbridger of The Guardian believes Meyer to be "a real heavyweight".
The announcement last week of the appointment of the British ambassador to Washington as Lord Wakeham’s successor – he will take up the post next spring – came after the Press Standards Board of Finance went through almost 50 candidates.
A working party, aided by recruitments consultants, helped narrow the list. Only a few were self-applications.
Described by an industry source as a "natural conciliator, well-connected with Whitehall and with business", 58-year-old Sir Christopher said he was a strong believer in self-regulation by newspapers and magazines.
He has experience of dealing with the press when he was head of news and chief spokesman at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and as chief press secretary to Prime Minister John Major.
Moore has known Sir Christopher for 10 years in the UK and in the US. "I’ve had several conversations with him and always found him very intelligent, direct, unpompous.
"I think it’s a good appointment. I think he has a full experience of press dealings and he has a professional approach to these matters because he has worked with governments of both parties.
"And I think he’s good at getting on with life in a practical and sensible way. I think he is a practical, problem-solving sort of person."
Moore hopes for new direction for the PCC. "I think the thing the PCC chairman has to remember is that he does ultimately serve the public not the press.
"It’s true that Christopher by his experience has not had a job directly dealing with the public but by temperament he is an open and fair sort of person.
"He has to restore the PCC’s reputation for serving the public, for independence and for open and fair procedures, all of which have been damaged, I think."
Rusbridger said: "Lots of people whom I respect speak very highly of him. The test is that he will have to convince a sceptical public that he is not just an insider, but he is on the readers’ side as much, if not more, than the newspapers’ side."
By Jean Morgan