Editors fear they would be shackled: Esther Oxford found there was little support for the proposals in the provinces, where investigations are seen as being threatened by censoring 'judges'

(First Edition)

EDITORS of regional papers yesterday gave their views on Sir David Calcutt's recommendations for statutory regulation of the press:

Keith Parker, Wolverhampton Express and Star:

am a member of the Press Complaints Commission. I have seen at first hand the enormous amount of work that the commission does in looking at every single complaint. At present the climate at the commission is one where editors really sit up and take notice of what people are saying. Our membership is voluntary and I think voluntary membership is the only way to create such a climate. We can't have a situation where 'judges' are appointed by the Government. That would amount to censorship.

'Bringing in such legislation would not only clip the wings of the tabloids; it would shackle local newspapers as much as nationals. Local papers spend a lot of time printing highly confidential reports from health and education departments - we print the stuff that no one else will touch. Often the sheer volume of these leaked reports put national newspapers off. It is down to the regional papers to do this kind of work but under the regulations this will become increasingly difficult.'

Andy Hughes, Sunderland Echo:

have always used our own judgement in the past to decide whether or not to print an apology for an inaccuracy. The system works in the majority of newspapers, the only trouble being the differing perceptions as to what is 'accurate' and what is 'inaccurate'. I don't think a government-

appointed statutory tribunal deciding for us would necessarily help matters.'

Nigel Hastilow, Birmingham Post:

'If the Government's policy passes you can be sure that such stories as the financial irregularities of the regional health authority or the 'goings on' in the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad would never see the light of day. These regulations are the thin edge of a wedge. If they are passed it will soon be possible to censor stories to the point where we become anodyne newspapers working on government handouts.'

Gerry Isaaman, the Hampstead and Highgate Express:

someone who has said that reforms could be brought in to curb the worst excesses of some people. I would support the law of trespass for example and the law against electronic surveillance. But you cannot legislate singularly for the press. Rules like this have to affect everyone - for instance the cowboy who sells insurance door-to-door as well as the man offering to Tarmac your front lawn. I think the proposals could do the Government great harm. The situation will create martyrs. Some journalists will go to prison if they believe strongly enough that their story is in the public interest.'

Bob Adams, Chester Chronicle:

'I think the regional papers are paying for the poor standards of tabloid reporting. Whenever I go out and about, local people bring up the subject of the Sun. I resent being made to feel responsible for the inaccuracies of the tabloids.

'These proposals are just another attempt to throttle the press, gag us and stop us doing a job as we see fit. I think that if the proposals come into force, regional papers in particular will be inhibited from investigative journalism.'

John Marquis, Falmouth Packet:

'The Government's proposals are an attempt to saw away at democracy. But the issue here is not so much one of the freedom of the press, as the more important right of the public to be informed. I seriously doubt that the proposals will come to pass. I don't think the British people will allow it.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
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 General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific