Former Conservative Cabinet Minister David Hunt (Lord Hunt of Wirral) has been named as the next chairman of the Press Complaints Commission.
Current PCC chair Peta Buscombe had been expected to complete her three-year-term as head of the press watchdog and step down in the New Year. But it was announced today that Lord Hunt will take up his new role as of Monday.
The PCC is currently under huge scrutiny with the whole system of press self regulation under review as a result of the phone-hacking scandal. The regulator is expected to be radically reformed, and may even be abolished and replaced with a new body, once the Leveson Inquiry has finished its deliberations.
David Hunt said:
I am delighted I shall be leading the crucially important process of wholesale regeneration and renewal of the system of independent self-regulation of the press. My job is to ensure we create in due course an effective, genuinely independent standards body, which enjoys the overwhelming respect and support of the media, our political leaders and the general public.
Throughout my political life I have fought for freedom of expression; and a free press is the distinctive and indispensable hallmark of any truly free, civilised society. I have no desire to live in a country where the legitimate, lawful investigative activities of the press are fettered at the whim of politicians. That would not be freedom at all.
Those who work for newspapers or their digital off-shoots are, however, rightly bound by the law of the land, just like everyone else. They should also abide by recognised standards of professionalism, consideration and common decency.