Editors in Pledge on Privacy

Article excerpt

BRITAIN'S newspaper editors met yesterday and pledged to introduce wide-ranging reforms of rules on privacy.

The meeting followed concern about media conduct sparked by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lord Wakeham, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, last night announced new moves to protect privacy, prevent harassment and intrusion into grief, strengthen regulation of the treatment of children and rules governing the behaviour of photographers.

He spoke after a meeting of the PCC's code of practice committee, which agreed to 'rigorous reforms' through improved self-regulation.

Following the meeting at the Newspaper Society in London, Sir David English, chairman of the code of practice committee, read a statement on behalf of the committee. He said: 'The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, has focused unprecedented public attention on press intrusion, harassment and respect for privacy.

'As those charged with defining the code of practice which sets the benchmark for ethical and professional standards of journalism, we recognise this.

'We are now undertaking an urgent review of the code. As an industry we emphasise the need for the code to be followed not just in the letter but in its full spirit.

'We support Lord Wakeham's call for wide-ranging and rigorous reforms and recognise that there is shared determination to rid publications of practices we all deplore.' Sir David, who is chairman of Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail, said he hoped a new code could be implemented 'within weeks' and reminded 'all media' that 'attention has been drawn' to the issues of 'intrusion, harassment and the need for some respect for privacy'.

A letter from the Princess of Wales' brother, Earl Spencer, was read to the committee which Charles Moore, editor of the Daily Telegraph, said concerned 'intrusion and the need for respect for privacy'. …