Media: Talk of the Trade: A White Paper for editors to read on hols

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The Independent Online
THE CABINET may have other things on its mind but it still hopes to reach a common position on the thorny topic of press controls in time to issue a White Paper before the recess at the end of July.

Among the options favoured by hard-line ministers are fines on newspapers that breach the agreed code of conduct, and compulsory payments to people whose privacy is unjustly invaded. These could be administered by a beefed-up version of the Press Complaints Commission, which would also be empowered to make newspapers print corrections more quickly and more prominently.

The bugging of conversations and 'snatching' of pictures via telephoto lenses seem certain to be made illegal, although it has not yet been decided whether the law should apply only to the press. The security services will want to be exempt. Newspaper proprietors are fiercely opposed to any law that singles out the press in this way, but the Cabinet may not be inclined to do them any favours after the drubbing it has received in recent weeks.