Labour drafts press regulation plan in UK

Labour drafts press regulation plan in UK

Labour has unveiled plans for how it would like to see the press regulated in the wake of the Leveson inquiry.

Under the plans, the Lord Chief Justice would oversee a new body of self-regulation, which would be underpinned by law, the Guardian said.

A draft Bill will be sent to Culture Secretary Maria Miller today, the newspaper said.

It proposes:

:: A panel headed by the Lord Chief Justice which recognises a press regulatory body and determines every three years whether the body is doing its job properly;

:: The body, named the Press Standards Trust, would be recognised by the Lord Chief Justice if a majority of newspapers are trust members;

:: Newspapers should be encouraged to join the trust through incentives of lower levels of high court damages and costs;

:: The requirement that ministers and public agents protect press freedom;

:: Criteria by which the judiciary determine whether the trust has shown it is carrying out its functions, such as composition of the trust board, its investigation of complaints and its publication of a code, including guidance on the definition of public interest. The trust could only impose fines in cases of serious and systematic non-compliance.

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman told the Guardian: “This gives clarity and certainty. Lord Justice Leveson said in his report that a legal guarantee to underpin self-regulation was essential and this draft Bill provides it.”

The Liberal Democrats are said to have welcomed the draft Bill, saying it is proof in principle that legislation is workable.

Prime Minister David Cameron is deeply opposed to state regulation of the media, a stance echoed by the vast majority of the newspaper industry.

But all are agreed that there needs to be more robust regulation of the press.

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