Labour’s shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman has said that new press regulation should be ‘underpinned’ by law.
Speaking at a Hacked Off fringe at the Labour party conference Ms Harman said newspapers are “very anxious and concerned about any sense of legislation” that may be recommended by the Leveson Inquiry.
She said the status quo is not an option and that cross-party agreement should be reached on a regulator who “provides the minimum necessary and underpins that in law, so it is able to do its work properly”.
Ms Harman said Lord Black’s proposal of a new “contract” signed by newspapers is “another version of the status quo” and as it would be voluntary “does not solve the problem”.
“If we have pretty much the same as we have at the moment that will not be good enough,” she said.
However, Ms Harman ruled out “pre-publication censorship or any intervention on governance issues”.
“I don’t thin that it is going to be very easy and straightforward and we have to work very closely together on it,” she told the Hacked Off fringe.
“What we want to be sure we have is a proper system of complaints against the press so that if somebody complains that something breaches the editor’s code, that actually it is looked into independently, that it applies to all newspapers. And that if an apology is required as a result of getting something wrong it is actually corrected.
“We need to make absolutely sure the press do not have impunity from not having proper press complaints.”