MPs write to Privy Council to protest press industry's proposals for regulation


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The Independent Online

A majority of MPs on the House of Commons specialist media committee have written to the Privy Council to protest over the press industry's proposals for its future regulation.

Six members of the Media, Culture & Sport committee have reacted angrily to the newspaper industry's submission of its own Royal Charter on press regulation in April, in place of another charter agreed to by Parliament.

The MPs - five Labour and one Liberal Democrat - have told the Privy Council that they regard Parliament's charter as “a better prospect for effective self-regulation which is both independent of the Press and of Government”.

The letter is a submission by the MPs to a consultation process being undertaken by the Privy Council on the alternative Royal Charter, which has been submitted by Pressbof, the body which funds the Press Complaints Commission.

“The purpose of this letter is to show where the feeling of the majority of the Select Committee lies - that is, firmly in favour of the Charter agreed after extensive debate in Parliament, and not the rival drawn up by Pressbof,” said one of the signatories, Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme. “At the end of the day, Pressbof, which is dominated by the big national newspapers, funded and oversaw a regime that failed because it was far too much controlled by the industry itself. This rival charter is a last ditch attempt to repeat the mistakes of the past and should be resisted, in the interests of effective, independent regulation and decent press standards.”

The response by the MPs follows public support for the press-backed Royal Charter from the chair of the select committee, John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP for Maldon.