Britain's Press Regulator Throws in the Towel

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Without a replacement set up, the industry-funded body that had been in charge of regulating Britain's press ethics for the last 21 years got permission to close down immediately rather than operate as a lame duck.

The Press Complaints Commission decided it was more important for it to close quickly than for a new body to be fully established first. The Press commission, which has no authority other than to demand a newspaper publish an apology, had already been the subject of criticism for failing to notice that anything was amiss with the nation's tabloids before the phone hacking scandal broke. It agreed in principle to shut itself down last month, but a replacement won't be up and running until 2012, The Guardian reported. Still, "the newspaper industry has decided that closing the existing self-regulatory body will offer the press a clean break from the past and an opportunity to regain the confidence of the public." The paper noted that the current PCC chairman Lord Hunt (who was appointed in October, well after the hacking scandal had broken), would reapply for his job once the transition from the current PCC was complete.

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