The Tory peer Guy Black (Baron Black of Brentwood, to give him his proper moniker) has come up with a proposal for a tougher regime for self-regulation of the press in his role as executive director of the Telegraph group and chair of the Press Standards Board of Finance.
His big idea is that publications and blogs that don’t sign up to a revamped Press Complaints Commission code of practice should be punished in various ways: by being struck off the Press Association subscription list, denied mainstream advertising and disallowed the right to issue press cards.
This is precisely what the media in Britain don’t need. Non-participation in the PCC is a right – exercised by some awful rotters (Richard Desmond’s Express titles) but also by some of the good guys (Private Eye, Tribune) – and the idea that blogs should be brought under its jurisdiction is laughable.
As for giving the PCC or some successor organisation a part in determining who gets a press card or who can take ads or PA feed, well, give me a break. If we’re going to preserve self-regulation of the media against the proponents of more stringent statutory controls, we’re going to have to do a lot better than this.