The Guardian sprung a surprise last night by not completely capitulating and signing up to statutory regulation. Rusbridger says wait a year to see if the press can show it can behave itself under an independent regulatory system:
“Establish an independent recognition panel – again free of press or political involvement. Equip it with a copy of the Leveson report and the minutes of all the meetings between politicians and the press since November, which helpfully flesh out its meanings and ambiguities. Let them reach a judgment on whether the new regulator is, and does, what Leveson had in mind. Allow the system to bed in for a year or so and for a dialogue between regulator and recogniser about what works and what needs tweaking. Then, and only then, think about wrapping it all up in a royal charter. People may by then have a clearer idea of the value of an endorsement by Buckingham Palace. A charter should in other words seal the deal, not describe it. If the press can show it is committed to a truly independent system that works then there may be less need for royal cement. Real independence matters more than statute and there may need to be a hard deadline to keep up the pressure on the press.”
Chris “yes please” Blackhurst is looking pretty lonely right now.