Press regulation deal in doubt

THE GOVERNMENT’S proposals for regulating the press were thrown into doubt yesterday when several publications suggested they would boycott the new body and form their own system of governance.

Some of the UK’s biggest newspaper publishers, including those of the Sun and the Daily Mail, said they were taking “high-level legal advice” after MPs passed proposals that would create a form of press regulation for the first time since 1695.

Meanwhile, political magazines The Spectator and Private Eye said they would not sign up to the proposals, and the Daily Telegraph’s deputy editor Benedict Brogan said that the country’s biggest newspaper groups should decline to take part and should set up their own systems.

The developments raised the prospect that the government’s planned regulator will fail to cover a swathe of the British press.

On Monday, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband reached an agreement that created a Royal Charter laying out proposals for regulating the press. The new body would have the power to fine newspapers up to £1m and would provide a new platform for complaints.

The plans follow Lord Justice Leveson’s report into press ethics, which followed a lengthy enquiry set up after revelations emerged about phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World.

Yesterday, Ukip leader Nigel Farage condemned the proposals. “This is a charter for the suppression of the press, not for its regulation,” Farage said.