McCanns: Plans to regulate press do not go far enough
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann have said the Government proposal to regulate the media does not go far enough.
Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, said plans to marshal the press through a Royal Charter, as opposed to a law, was "a compromise of a compromise".
Royal Charters are used to establish and lay out the terms of organisations, such as the BBC and the Bank of England, and cannot be changed without Government approval.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show yesterday, the couple said the Conservatives had missed the point of the Leveson inquiry.
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Gerry McCann said that the Royal Charter – which ministers insisted would be tough and effective – would still leave the media with too much control.
He said: "They are getting a last chance at self-regulation which, for me, was actually a step too far. I feel the press has lost its entitlement to self-regulation over many, many years and I would have liked to have seen statutory regulation, not self-regulation."
Kate said: "I believe that if the Royal Charter goes through we'll be no better off. What the Government is proposing is not what Leveson proposed."
The McCanns appeared before Lord Justice Leveson in November 2011 to give evidence as part of his inquiry into press standards.
They told how journalists who camped outside their home scared their children and left the family feeling hemmed in.
Gerry explained the biggest distress to them was the incorrect message was going out that their daughter was dead, hindering a meaningful search.
Lord Justice Leveson's report recommended an independent, self-regulatory watchdog for the press that would be backed by legislation.
But the Conservatives opposed regulation backed up by statute and have said a Royal Charter is the best way to provide legal backing for a new press regulator.
Speaking yesterday, Kate said the couple were still battling with newspapers over stories printed about the disappearance of their daughter in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.
"I wrote to the editor of the newspaper concerned and I got a reply back which made my blood boil," she said. "It was basically telling me they knew what was best for Madeleine and for missing children."
Gerry said: "My concerns are about accuracy and standards of the press."