Labour is promising a vote on making the new press regulator underpinned by statute, reports Press Gazette.
The government is supporting Lord Hunt’s vow to set up a ‘Leveson-compliant’ watchdog, with the caveat of avoiding legislation.
But the deputy opposition leader and shadow culture secretary said: “The role of the law – the legal underpinning – would be limited to setting up a body whose task would be to recognise the self-regulatory system and to check it once every three years.
“Leveson said this was essential to ensure that, despite all the protestations of change and good intentions, the press did not once again slip back into their old ways – as they have always done after all the other inquiries and reports. We strongly support that.
“It cannot be just the good faith of the press that ensures the new system remains independent and effective. There was good faith after previous Royal Commissions and after the Calcutt Reports, but they have always slipped back. The new system must be guaranteed by law.
“The most straightforward way of implementing Leveson is to have a single statute.”
Harman dismissed the notion that a new law would set up a “slippery slope” affecting freedom of speech. “It would clearly need statute to stop ministers on some future occasion toughening or weakening its provisions,” she said.
(Source: Press Gazette)