Paul Dacre, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, is to give a presentation to the Leveson Inquiry next week in which he will set out his case for the continued self-regulation of the press.
A series of seminars have been arranged for Lord Justice Leveson's panel of assessors as a preliminary to their far-reaching inquiry into media standards. The first two seminars begin today with a session on the competitive pressures on the press.
Mr Dacre will give a 10-minute address next Wednesday on "Approaches to regulation – supporting a free press and high standards". As the chairman of the code of practice committee of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), he is likely to advocate the benefits of self-regulation. The existence of the PCC is threatened after criticism of its handling of the phone-hacking scandal.
Mr Dacre would have addressed Lord Justice Leveson's team today, but was committed to a meeting in the United States. The Leveson panel will hear this afternoon from Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, Trevor Kavanagh, a veteran political journalist with The Sun, and the media academic Brian Cathcart. They will speak on "The Rights and Responsibilities of the Press". Mr Dacre's appearance before Mr Justice Leveson will be keenly anticipated. At a House of Lords committee hearing in 2007, he suggested that judges over-reacted to press coverage on court sentencing. "Judges do need to be a little bit less sensitive and a little bit less defensive. They should be magisterial and Olympian and worry a little bit less about the hurly burly of Her Majesty's red-tops," he said.
Giving evidence to another parliamentary hearing this year, Mr Dacre said he would never tolerate phone hacking or the blagging of information by Daily Mail journalists, even to fight a defamation action. "I don't think we should ever use hacking or blagging as defence. Clearly they are criminal charges," he said.
Today's seminars open with a session on the pressures facing journalists. The speakers include PR man and former News of the World editor Phil Hall and former Daily Star journalist Richard Peppiatt.