Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, has announced he is stepping down from a committee that sets out regulatory rules for the press.
And, being the editor of the Daily Mail, he has refused to go quietly - taking a swipe at a challenger press regulator, Max Mosley, the government and... the internet.
Dacre, who was chairman of the Editors’ Code Committee, said he was acting on the recommendation of an external review for press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). This said that members of the committee, which sets out the rules under which complaints are made to Ipso, should not serve more than two three-year terms.
“Having seen the code through eight turbulent years, I think it best that I now concentrate on the exciting but exacting challenges facing Associated’s print and digital journalism,” Dacre said in a statement.
“I am, however, proud of the code committee’s achievements and the fact that it has emerged from Leveson stronger than before, even being used by Impress – albeit without a licence!
Not that this joke body is a laughing matter. I still have to pinch myself that we live in a country in which the government’s press regulator is financed by Max Mosley and that papers who refuse to sign up to it will not only face punitive damages in libel courts but could be forced to pay a claimant’s costs even if the article concerned is entirely true and the paper wins its case.
Which is why my contempt for those so-called liberals who insidiously conspire to manacle press freedom is only matched by my admiration for those in our industry who strive to preserve it.
What's he talking about? Find out here: Why newspapers are so worried about the fate of our free press this week
He added: “But, those manacles apart, it’s a bitter irony that while print media, which is declining, is more tightly policed than ever, rampant internet journalism is utterly unregulated – unless of course a website belongs to a newspaper group.
“Resolving this contradiction will be a considerable challenge for those who believe in a responsible, independently self-regulated, press.”