Phone-hacking: Lib Dems demand overhaul of press regulation

By staff

The Press Complaints Commission must be radically overhauled if it is to regulate the industry after the phone-hacking scandal, Liberal Democrats agreed today.

The party also backed stronger rules on media ownership and custodial sentences for those who unlawfully obtain data.

"No longer can we accept a regulator that works for the benefit of the press, rather than the public," said Don Foster, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat committee on culture, media and sport.

"We have heard enough empty condemnations from politicians who used to be in bed with press barons. Now is the time for reform. Media power must become more transparent, scrutinised, and dispersed.

"Liberal Democrats have made clear that the scandal won’t truly be over until there is fundamental change in how the media is run."

Debate still rages in political circles about the appropriate form for press regulation to take in the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal.

David Cameron favours a system of independent regulation, with a panel almost certain to include former media professionals among its ranks.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, who adopted a firmer stance than the prime minister on most other aspects of phone-hacking, still supports self-regulation of the press.