Tory leader calls for tighter controls on local media

TORY LEADER cllr Phil Anderson has called for a code of conduct to be signed by all local newspapers in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed News International.

Cllr Anderson said: “Events this week have made it very clear that some parts of the national media had crossed the line of acceptable behaviour. The outcome has been bad all round: bad for the victims; bad for the public interest; and catastrophic for the newspaper and all of its employees.

“I don’t want to see anything like this ever happen locally here in Thurrock. Both local public figures and our independent local media deserve to be protected. In a fast changing environment of internet reporting and social media, we cannot assume that yesterday’s conventions will still work today.

“I will be asking councillors to debate the issue next week (Wednesday July 20th). If we reach agreement, I hope that we will be approaching all of the local media to get together and agree a simple code of conduct that balances the key priorities: freedom of speech, a free press, and freedom from harassment for individuals.”

Councillor Anderson’s motion has already been backed in some Labour quarters with the press now required to give two weeks notice to attend some meetings chaired by Labour councillors and be required to face a question and answer session.

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