McLellan describes MPs’ report as ‘powerful shot’ across bows of the press

A “LAST chance” for newspaper publishers “to sort themselves out” has been delivered by a report from a group of MPs, according to The Scotsman editor, John McLellan.

Says McLellan – in his regular, Friday ‘Editor’s notebook‘ – of the deliberations by Westminister’s Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions: “The report is a very strong shot across publishers’ bows.”

The MPs’ conclusions have been unveiled ahead of recommendations from the ongoing Leveson Inquiry into press standards and expected reform of the Press Complaints Commission by its chair, Lord Hunt.

Writes McLellan: “Stopping short of recommending new laws for statutory regulation, or tossing newspapers to media regulator Ofcom, the committee has given publishers a last chance to sort themselves out, but with the proviso that a new regulator reports annually to a standing committee of MPs and Lords to explain its actions and decisions.”

He notes how valuable subterfuge by the Press can be to expose a story in the public interest, as in that undertaken by the Sunday Times to expose, at the weekend, ‘dinners with the Prime Minister in return for donations to the Tory party’.

He later writes about the committee’s consideration of policing the internet. “What is more contentious in the JCPI report are proposals to force internet and social network providers to take more responsibility for upholding injunctions,” he writes.