The newspaper industry has announced its own proposals for a Royal Charter to underpin a new system of self-regulation.
David Cameron has insisted a cross-party agreement for a new system of press regulation protects the principle of the free press.
Labour says this is just the sort of legal under-pinning they were looking for but the Conservatives say that no such press law will exist.
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.
– Richard caseby, managing editor of the sun
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.
Hacked Off member Dr Evan Harris says this proposal for press regulation is essentially media barons sticking two fingers up to the public, readers Parliament and Lord Justice Leveson.
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.
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:
– Dominic Mohan, Editor of The Sun
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.
The editor of the Daily Telegraph Tony Gallagher described the government-proposed approach to press regulation in colourful language on Twitter:
Can anyone possibly be surprised we have rejected Lab-Lib-Hackedoff stitch up- not forgetting walk on role for sleepy Letwin.(PM was in bed)
The newspaper industry said the Royal Charter published by the Government in March has been condemned by a range of international media freedom organisations and enjoys "no support within the press" in the UK.
A statement co-ordinated by the Newspaper Society said: "A number of its recommendations are unworkable and it gives politicians an unacceptable degree of interference in the regulation of the press."
The industry's proposal is closely based on the draft Royal Charter published on February 12 following negotiations with national and local newspapers and magazines.
The statement described it as "a workable, practical way swiftly to deliver the Leveson recommendations, which the industry accepts, without any form of state-sponsored regulation that would endanger freedom of speech".
The Sun's political editor Tom Newton Dunn has tweeted:
The FT, Guardian and Indy have not signed up to rival Royal Charter - but want to keep talking.
The newspaper industry said its counter proposals on press regulation would protect "freedom of speech."
– newspaper industry statement
This Royal Charter proposal will deliver on Leveson and bind the UK's national and local newspapers and magazines to a tough and enduring system of regulation - tougher than anywhere else in the Western world - which will be of real benefit to the public, at the same time as protecting freedom of speech.
The newspaper industry firmly rejected the Government's Royal Charter proposal on press regulation and published its own plans.
A statement co-ordinated by the Newspaper Society said the new proposal has "widespread backing across the industry" and would deliver:
- Tough sanctions - with the new regulator able to impose fines of up to £1 million for systematic wrongdoing.
- Full and prominent correction of inaccuracies.
- Strong investigative powers enabling the new regulator to investigate wrongdoing and call editors to account.
- Genuine independence from the industry and from politicians, with all the bodies making up the new regulator having a majority of independent members appointed openly and transparently.
- Public involvement in the framing of the Code of Practice which binds national and local newspapers and magazines.
The newspaper industry rejected the Government's plans for the future of press regulation and published its own proposal for a Royal Charter to create a new system of self-regulation.