Pickles opposes tough press laws

Ealing Times: Eric Pickles said the Press was working towards a way of offering proper recourse for those with legitimate complaints Eric Pickles said the Press was working towards a way of offering proper recourse for those with legitimate complaints

The Government should be very reluctant to bring in tough new laws to regulate the Press following the publication of the Leveson Inquiry, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says.

Mr Pickles said the Press was working towards a way of offering proper recourse for those with legitimate complaints, telling Sky's Dermot Murnaghan the right of the British press to expose corruption must be protected.

And he warned ministers must be very careful about introducing statutory regulation, should Lord Justice Leveson recommend a new independent watchdog to monitor the press.

He said: "I think it is really massively important to ensure we have freedom of press in this country. Some of the characteristics of the British press - it is good at exposing corruption and it is good at going to places where other press wouldn't.

"I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said that for a free society to operate, then the 'river of a free press had to flow without restriction'.

"I think, given that the press are looking towards finding ways, the end result of offering a good way that people who have a legitimate complaint can find recourse, then that is right.

"We should be very, very, very reluctant to take on legislation. It's a balance and my view is that we should always balance in favour of a free press."

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