Culture Secretary Maria Miller ‘open-minded’ on future of press regulation
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the government has an open mind about the future of press regulation as she faced calls for a statutory framework.
In her first Commons appearance since taking over from Jeremy Hunt, Mrs Miller said she wants a “suitably independent press” but a regulator needs “sufficient teeth”.
Her comments follow culture, media and sport select committee chairman John Whittingdale’s warning that statutory regulation would be “dangerous”.
David Cameron’s former press secretary George Eustice raised the issue with Mrs Miller at Commons question time.
With Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry set to report this autumn, Mr Eustice said it is “increasingly clear” that the new press regulation regime would need “statutory underpinning”.He said: “During module four, the final module of Lord Leveson’s inquiry, it became increasingly clear that the self-regulation of news content would work far more effectively if it were supported by some statutory underpinning.
“Given that the government is already introducing statutory measures in areas such as defamation, can you confirm that the government retains an open mind on the issues of further statutory regulation in this area?” Mr Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth, asked.
Mrs Miller told him: “We very much have an open mind and I wouldn’t want to pre-empt the inquiry by trying to second-guess its conclusions.
“[But] we need to make sure we maintain freedom of expression, that we make sure that we have a suitably independent press.”
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