Culture Secretary Reaffirms Belief in Importance of Press Freedom

John Whittingdale has reaffirmed his belief in the importance of press freedom today, adding that the Government should “tread very carefully” on the issue of press regulation.  

Responding to questions from MPs today, the Culture Secretary said press freedom was a “vitally important component to a free society.”

Mr Whittingdale said:  “I would say having had my faith perhaps tested to the utmost I still believe that press freedom is a vitally important component to a free society and we should tread very carefully.

“However, the recommendations in the Leveson report some have already been implemented, and a new system is coming into effect, the exemplary damages provisions of Section 40 have been implemented and the remainder are still under consideration.

“We do not yet have a recognised press regulator in place but we will continue to consider these matters very carefully.

“We do now have two potential press regulators both of which are independent self regulatory systems with sanctions and certainly represent a considerable improvement on the Press Complaints Commission which went before.

“It is still very early days and we will watch very carefully to see how the new system operates and whether it is delivering the proper protection which I think all of us want to see to ensure that the abuses which have taken place in the past do not happen again.”