The editor of Channel 4 News and head of compliance at ITN both argued against statutory regulation of the press at the Leveson Inquiry this afternoon.
In a debate with Lord Justice Leveson, ITN’s John Battle expressed concerns over statutory regulation, noting that it was “quite a leap” from the current self-regulatory model, and suggesting a meeting point between the two.
Lord Justice Leveson argued that there were “all sorts of statutes that affect us, without affecting our independence”.
Chiming in with the evidence given by BBC Director General Mark Thompson and BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten earlier today, Battle argued that broadcasters were heavily regulated by the law, and that a state regulator of the press might “be left open to being viewed as not independent or not impartial”.
He called the current climate a “difficult and dark” period for the press, but reiterated the UK had a “strong tradition” of press freedom that needed to be maintained.
He added that he hoped there could be a regulatory system that could be viewed or considered by the press before being enacted.
Channel 4′s Jim Gray also said he was “anxious” about a heavy form of regulation for print media.
The Inquiry will continue tomorrow, with Index on Censorship CEO John Kampfner among those giving evidence.
Follow Index on Censorship’s coverage of the Leveson Inquiry on Twitter – @IndexLeveson