Large swathes of the press industry have responded with dismay at the statute-backed regulation passed by the House of Commons on Monday night.
The cross-party deal will see a regulator formed, recognised by a body established by royal charter, creating a solid legislative foundation to Leveson’s proposals.
Publications which reject the new regulator could be subject to punitive damages from judges.
Culture secretary Maria Miller said she believes the agreement presents a “tough new system of press regulation, that equally doesn’t compromise the freedom of the press and investigative journalism”.
But much of the industry itself remains unconvinced, and put-out by the government’s decision to neglect them from final talks.
We can never lecture a Mugabe or a Putinon freedom of expression again. Quite an achievement for Hacked Off et al.
— Tim Jotischky (@TimJotischky) March 18, 2013
In an editorial, the Times warned: “The role of a free press is to hold the government to account. It should not work the other way round.”
A Daily Mail leader took umbrage at the use of the term ‘self-regulation’. “How can a system be described as ‘self regulation’ when it will deny any newspapers in any real say in the choice of their regulators or of the regulations to be imposed?”
The Daily Telegraph‘s Tim Jotischky took to Twitter to issue his complaints: “We can never lecture a Mugabe or a Putin on freedom of expression again.”
Among the dissent, the Guardian and the Independent offered a more positive outlook on the agreement. Independent editor Chris Blackhurst said the system “isn’t perfect, but neither is it terrible”.
The Guardian took a shot at the industry itself: “Much of Fleet Street has ploughed on as if there were really nothing to balance, only one supreme freedom at stake here: Its freedom to carry on as heretofore.”
(Source: Press Gazette)