Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has questioned whether media mogul Richard Desmond is a ‘fit and proper’person to own a newspaper and a TV Channel.
Dacre told a Leveson Inquiry seminar this morning that while he abhors statutory controls, one area where Parliament could help the Press was in finding a way to ‘compel all newspaper owners to fund and participate in self-regulation”.
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Desmond’s Northern & Shell owns papers including the Daily Star and the Daily Express and the broadcaster Channel 5.
Commenting on Desmond’s decision to pull his papers from the PCC earlier this year, Dacre said: ‘God knows, the industry fought hard enough to prevent it, but the Express Group’s decision to leave the PCC was a body blow to the commission.
‘How can you have self-regulation when a major newspaper group unilaterally withdraws from it?”
He continued: ‘But let’s not forget that it was the political class in the form of the Blair Government –in the risible belief that he’d turn the Express Labour – which decided that Richard Desmond, the businessman who’d made his money from porn, was a fit and proper person to own a newspaper.
‘And it was OFCOM, itself a statutory regulator, which recently judged Mr Desmond a fit person to buy Channel 5 – this after he’d quit the PCC, effectively holing self-regulation below the line.”