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New press watchdog plans attacked by campaigners

Newspapers and magazines have begun to set up a new press watchdog in the wake of the phone hacking scandal - but have been instantly criticised by campaigners.

Plans for the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which will have the power to impose fines of up to £1m, will go out to consultation.

But Hacked Off, which represents some of the victims of phone hacking, claimed the move was a "cynical rebranding exercise" that showed the industry was "determined to hold on to the power to bully the public without facing any consequences".

Prescott resigns from Privy Council over press regulation

John Prescott has resigned from the Privy Council in protest at a delay to new press regulation plans that "borders on a conspiracy".

The Labour former cabinet minister - a member of the Privy Council since 1994 - used his column in the Sunday Mirror to suggest the Government had deliberately "dragged its feet".

"I believe this approach borders on a conspiracy to delay Press regulation. Much worse, it will embroil the monarchy in a possible conflict with Parliament and political division between the parties."

Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The peer - who will no longer be entitled to be referred to as "the right honourable" as a result of his withdrawal - said he had only "reluctantly accepted" the cross-party "compromise" on the original Leveson recommendations.

"I sent off my resignation letter on Friday. The Privy Council must put Parliament and Parliament's Charter first.", Lord Prescott said.

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Press regulation system delayed by Government

The Government is to delay the presentation of its proposed Royal Charter to underpin a new system of press regulation to the Privy Council.

The charter had been due to be presented to the Queen by the Lord President of the Privy Council, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, for approval on May 15.

However, Downing Street said last night that it had been put back in order to give more time for consideration of an alternative charter put forward by the industry.

The move was welcomed by the Newspaper Society, representing the industry.

But the Hacked Off campaign said only the Government version would meet the requirements of the Leveson Report on press standards.

The alternative version - which has the support of most national, regional and local newspapers - is currently open for comment on the Privy Council website until May 23.

Press regulator 'would give newspapers right of veto'

This is likely to be a sticking point since the Labour party and campaign group Hacked Off believe that newspapers must not have so much influence over who runs the future regulator.

The Guardian reports the right of veto given to newspapers bosses was seen as one of the major weaknesses of the discredited Press Complaints Commission.

Proponents of the alternative regulator say appointments to the board would be "without any direction from industry or influence from Government".

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Daily Mail Group ethics chief: Govt plans 'unworkable'

The emeritus editor of the Daily Mail Group, Peter Wright, has said he believes parts of the Royal Charter would be "unworkable".

In an interview on BBC Radio 4's The World At One, he explains why newspaper groups have set up their own proposal for a press regulator:

He also conceded that the Guardian, Independent and Financial Times newspapers have not yet "signed up on the specifics," but added that they thought it was "a good idea to get the ball rolling".

Royal Charter was 'bodged together while PM slept'

The managing editor of The Sun, Richard Caseby, has launched a stinging attack on the government-sponsored Royal Charter, accusing it of being "draconian" and "bodged together".

An earlier deal for state regulation was bodged together by politicians and the pressure group Hacked Off at a secret late night meeting. The Prime Minister was asleep in his bed at the time.

This was not the independent, self regulation recommended by the Leveson Inquiry. It was rushed; it was draconian; it was it was a mess; and it is being condemned by commentators the world over.

It meant that the state would ultimately have the final say in what newspapers write, and it went further.

It basically blackmailed publishers into joining up because it threatened them with punitive damaged which could easily put them out of business.

– Richard caseby, managing editor of the sun

Times editor: Royal Charter infringes on press freedom

Times acting editor John Witherow explaining his views in a video Credit: News International

The acting editor of the Times, John Witherow, has said his newspaper supports the alternative blueprint for press regulation because the government-sponsored Royal Charter "infringes too much on the public's right to know and on press freedom".

He explains his views in a video posted on the websites of The Times and News International.

Readers don't want a 'state-sponsored Ministry of Truth'

The editors of newspapers in the News International stable have released a series of videos explaining their vision of a press regulator independent of the government.

The editor of the Sun is quoted on the News International website saying:

Sun readers expect journalists to behave responsibly, but don’t want them censored by a state-sponsored Ministry of Truth. This constructive proposal would create a tough but independent regulator supported by the vast majority of the industry – a workable solution which should command public confidence.

– Dominic Mohan, Editor of The Sun
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