Press's regulation plans rejected

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Newspaper industry proposals for a royal charter on press self-regulation have been rejected, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Maria Miller has told the Commons.

Mrs Miller said the press's proposals did not comply with some of the "fundamental" principles of the Leveson report, such as independence and access to arbitration.

She said the government will instead purse cross-party proposals agreed by Parliament earlier this year, as she addressed MPs on 8 October 2013.

The cross party charter will be considered at a specially convened meeting of the Privy Council on 30 October, giving the three political parties time to work together on a final draft.

Labour criticised the timetable set by the government, questioning why the charter was not being considered until the end of the month.

"We regret this because there has been nearly a year since Leveson reported, and six months since the House agreed the draft charter. There has already been too much delay," shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman said.

She said the charter should be considered at the next meeting of the Privy Council, on Wednesday.

Press regulation options are being considered in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry. Politicians and the press have been at odds over the details of a royal charter to underpin a new system of industry self-regulation.

A number of MPs said that for any new system of press regulation to be effective it must have the support of the industry as well as the public.

Liberal Democrat John Leech said his party welcomed the rejection of the press version of a Royal Charter: "It would have resulted in business as usual for the press if approved."

Mrs Miller said: "I don't think the press charter would have been business as usual because actually it very clearly was written in light of Leveson's report but you are right in saying there were significant issues we felt hadn't been addressed."

Conservative Richard Drax, a former journalist, said the freedom of the press "is absolutely crucial" and wanted to know whether politicians would be able to interfere with the charter.

Mrs Miller replied: "Politicians will have absolutely no role whatsoever."

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