Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: Labour’s ‘thunderous hypocrisy’ on press regulation

Press regulation – something of a political hot potato – is top of the agenda once again after Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced the government was considering ditching plans for a follow-up Leveson inquiry. It’s no surprise that this morning’s newspapers have (almost all) welcomed the news.

The Sun says David Cameron left behind a press regulation ‘dog’s dinner’ for Theresa May. But the paper praises the efforts of the government to try and clear it up. It says Bradley’s announcement of a consultation on Leveson 2 is an ideal opportunity for the media to make its voice heard and put forward the case against state interference. The Sun also uses the opportunity to take a veiled dig at Impress, the regulator which won the backing of the Press Recognition Panel at the end of last month. In its editorial, the paper says it shouldn’t be left to the likes of Max Mosley, who has given Impress around £3.8m, to ‘decide the fate of the free press’.

The Times takes a sceptical tone on the importance of the debate into press regulation. It says that while the political climate of the last few years has been tumultuous, with Cameron quitting and Britain backing Brexit, those who support or oppose state regulation for newspapers have stuck to their guns. Its editorial says: ‘The dance has remained the same even if the government has, at various times, accompanied it with a different tune, of which yesterday’s is merely the latest.’ But despite the suggestion there is nothing new to be said on the subject, the Times appears in favour of ‘one last opportunity for those MPs and peers who remain dissatisfied with anything less than state-sponsored regulation to express their views about the press’. It makes it clear though, that once Leveson 2 has finished, it should be an end to the matter, and the government should turn its head to focusing on more important matters – like Brexit and dealing with the Russian threat.

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