Viscount Rothermere, Daily Mail chairman, warned yesterday that fresh regulation stemming from the Leveson inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World must not be allowed to "castrate" the newspaper industry by restricting freedom of speech.
He also criticised the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for acting as a block to consolidation among regional press groups which have been hammered by internet competition.
"Whatever regulation comes about, what matters is that we don't castrate our industry from doing our job," Lord Rothermere said.
He confirmed that Daily Mail & General Trust was looking again at options for Northcliffe, its regional newspaper arm, where revenues fell 9 per cent in the last quarter.
But he hit out at the OFT for referring the sale of his seven small Kent titles to the Kent Messenger group to the Competition Commission, which led to the deal being scrapped last autumn.