Newspaper industry sets out radical reform of ethics rules

Press could face fines of up to £1m under proposals seen as preferable to any state regulation

The newspaper industry last night proposed radical reform of the regulation of the press, including fines of up to £1m for titles found to have committed breaches of ethical standards.

In a detailed submission to Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into the media, Lord Black of Brentwood, the chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance (Pressbof), set out plans for greater involvement of the public in assessing the behaviour of newspapers. The intention is to create a regulatory body with investigative powers and greater independence than the current Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

The newspaper industry hopes that Lord Justice Leveson will be persuaded that such a model is preferable to any form of state regulation. "There will be no role for Government or Parliament as that would be unacceptable in a system of self-regulation," Lord Black said in his submission.

A new regulator would have the teeth of an investigations and compliance panel, on which public members would outnumber newspaper editors by a ratio of two to one. A complaints committee, dealing with less serious ethical breaches, would be comprised of eight members of the public and five editors.

Pressbof is the industry body that funds the PCC, although Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell, publishers of the Daily Express and the Daily Star, does not contribute. In place of the PCC, the industry proposes "a wholly new system of independently led self-regulation". Lord Black's submission said: "It is an entirely different structure which will be tougher, more effective, more independent and above all future-proof to take account of the rapidly changing face of the media."

The new regulator would be overseen by a trust board with a majority of independent public members. The board will be able to impose fines up to a cap of £1m when a publisher is found to have been responsible for a "serious breakdown in ethics or internal governance".

Lord Justice Leveson also received submissions yesterday from Lord Hunt, chairman of the PCC, and Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, who made a series of proposals in his capacity as chairman of the PCC's Editors' Code Committee.

Mr Dacre suggested some similar measures for increasing the independence of the regulator, including a "standing presidium of independent experts", including those with backgrounds in the police and judiciary, to carry out investigations into serious breaches.

He also supports a complaints committee with a majority of public members, civil contracts and kitemarks for newspapers who sign up to the future regulator and a strict system of issuing press cards to journalists who are bound by ethical standards. He said his proposals would amount to "the toughest press regulatory body in the free world".

In a warning on the dangers of over-regulation, Mr Dacre painted a picture of a weakened press industry, saying that the combined worth of all the newspapers in Britain and America was less than that of Facebook.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

BI Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency in Central Lo...

DBA

£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: DBA, London,...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game