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Press Regulation

Volume 572: debated on Thursday 12 December 2013

1. What steps she is taking to ensure that any future regulator of the press will be better equipped than the Press Complaints Commission to tackle allegations of discrimination during election campaigns. (901603)

The royal charter, which sets out a framework for the press to establish a self-regulatory body, was granted by the Privy Council on 30 October. It protects freedom of the press while offering real redress if mistakes are made. The Government have no role to judge any proposed self-regulator.

During our inquiry into electoral conduct, we found that if people from a particular group, such as Christian, Muslim, Jewish or gay, felt that they had been discriminated against in print, they could argue it only under the heading of “inaccuracy” with the Press Complaints Commission. Will the Secretary of State use her influence, while the new code of conduct is being drafted, to ensure that those who feel discriminated against have proper redress in the future?

I thank the hon. Lady for her question and commend her for that report. My officials are talking to the Equality and Human Rights Commission about the findings of the report, but I would say that the Government have no influence on the code. I am sure, however, that others who are listening will take note of her comments.