Regional newspaper owner Sir Ray Tindle has warned that the prospect of statutory regulation of the press is “the worst threat I have known in my 65 years of active service in newspapers”.
According to the Newspaper Society, at a lunch celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Monmouthshire Beacon today, Tindle will say that a statutory underpinning to press regulation would result in “99 per cent of newspapers” being “unjustly punished for the sins of less than one per cent of the press”.
Tindle will tell guests: “The phone hacking scandal was appalling but shackling the press would benefit only the rich and powerful. Statutory regulation, or an independent regulator underpinned by legislation, would be the beginning of the end of a free press which, as Winston Churchill said, ‘is the unsleeping guardian of every other right than free men prize.’”
“We need to think hard about this. A Daily Telegraph leader last week was headed ‘The threat to our free press is grave and foolish.’ It is in fact the worst threat I have known in my 65 years of active service in newspapers.
“The whole of the press is becoming gravely concerned because we think the Government may accept it.”
Tindle’s intervention in the press regulation debate comes after Newspaper Society director David Newell said statutory underpinning risked “re-imposing on some media a licensing regime which was abolished in the 17th century”.