Press regulation poses a real danger, says Patten
This round-up of media stories looks at the growing debate over the future of press regulation, at the Leveson Inquiry and the Society of Editors' conference.
The BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has told the Society of Editors conference that statutory regulation of the press would "pose a real danger," even though it works for broadcasting, reports BBC News. Speaking last night, ahead of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics prompted by the phone-hacking scandal, he said: "Only the press can reform the press."
The Guardian says Lord Patten has admitted the BBC is more constrained than the press by its need to avoid political bias: "Despite the BBC's tradition of investigative journalism, it could not have paid for the information on MPs' expenses as the Daily Telegraph did, nor pursued the hacking story at News International as remorselessly as the Guardian campaign did."
Lord Justice Leveson's Inquiry into journalistic ethics, which was sparked by the phone-hacking scandal, is due to get under way formally today, reports the Daily Telegraph. Counsel to the inquiry, Robert Jay QC, will begin the sessions with an opening statement describing how the inquiry came to be set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in July, after revelations that a private detective working for the News of the World hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
It's an anxious - and potentially momentous - time for Britain's newspaper editors, as they assemble for the annual Society of Editors conference. I explain figures published on Friday showed double-digit falls in circulation for The Independent (down 26% year on year), the Guardian (down 16%), the Financial Times (down 14%) and the Times, which has slipped by 13% and, after the failure of the Press Complaints Commission to tackle the phone-hacking scandal, the future of press regulation is up for debate.
One public figure whose phone was hacked says the fuss is overblown. TV presenter Beverley Turner, who is married to James Cracknell, writes in Saturday's Daily Telegraph that phone hacking is "hardly the pernicious act into which it has morphed - thanks to opportunistic lawyers, the tasteless compensation culture and figures such as Labour's Tom Watson, who have stepped onstage to showcase their moral fortitude. Of course, an icy wind blew across the whole landscape of this story when details emerged of Milly Dowler's phone interception... Celebrities, however, are a very different matter."
Matthew Wright, who presents the London edition of Inside Out, the BBC1 regional current affairs series, has told the Guardian the proposed 40% cuts to the programme are "a joke" and says he may quit if they go ahead. Wright - who also fronts Channel 5's The Wright Stuff - said the budget cuts the BBC show is facing as part of the "Delivering Quality First" cost-saving measures, mark "the beginning of the end for regional broadcasting on the BBC".
Poppies bloom on the front pages of Monday's newspapers, in striking images from Remembrance Sunday, as covered in the BBC's newspapers review.