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NS President Statement on Royal Charter Cross-Party Agreement

Adrian Jeakings, president of the Newspaper Society and chief executive of Archant:

“Lord Justice Leveson found that the UK’s local media had nothing to do with the phone hacking scandal which prompted the Inquiry. Indeed, he praised regional and local newspapers for their important social and democratic role and recommended that the regulatory model proposed should not provide an added burden to our sector. He called on the Government to look urgently at what action it might take to help safeguard regional and local newspapers’ ongoing viability as a valued and important part of the British press.

“Yet the deal announced by the three main political parties today completely ignores the Leveson recommendations on the local press. The Royal Charter proposals agreed by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour - with huge financial penalties for newspapers which choose to be outside the system and an arbitration service which would open the floodgates to compensation claimants - would place a crippling burden on the UK’s 1100 local newspapers inhibiting freedom of speech and the freedom to publish.

 "Local newspapers remain fiercely opposed to any form of statutory involvement or underpinning in the regulation of the press. A free press cannot be free if it is dependent on and accountable to a regulatory body recognised by the state."

The NS is the voice of Britain’s local media, the UK’s most trusted medium. It represents 1,100 newspapers, 1,700 websites and other print, digital and broadcast channels.