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KM Group praised by David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions

.David Cameron visits the Kent Messenger offices in Maidstone.

David Cameron visiting the KM Group's Maidstone office in April 2008

Prime Minister David Cameron today praised the KM Group in the House of Commons.

He was answering a question from Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservative MP Gordon Henderson - who urged him to resist calls to muzzle the freedom of the regional press such as the "exceptional" KM Group, publisher of this website.

Mr Cameron said the issues surrounding behaviour of the Press did not relate to the regional media and he was aware of the good work carried out by the KM Group.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon HendersonThe KM Group has contacted all Kent MPs urging them to resist the prospect of statutory regulation of the press.

It comes ahead of publication of the long-awaited Leveson report into the ethics and practices of the industry.

Mentioning the KM Group during Prime Minister's Questions today, Mr Henderson (pictured left) said: "A free Press is one of the cornerstones of a true democracy.

"Any attempt to muzzle newspapers, such as the excellent Kent Messenger Group in my own constituency should be strenuously resisted."

Mr Cameron replied: "I join him in my admiration of the Kent Messenger Group in all that they do.

"It is an important point, because the problems we have had in our newspaper industry have not really been about regional and local titles that perform an incredibly important function in our democratic system."

The Leveson inquiry was established by the government in the wake of the phone hacking scandal at the News of The World.

More than 70 Tory MPs have written to Mr Cameron calling for official press regulation enshrined in law, but the prospect has sparked a fierce backlash from many people concerned about freedom of speech.

Many have called for improved regulation enshrined in law, but many within the industry are fiercely opposed to this, claiming it will affect freedom of the Press.


Other Kent MPs have backed calls to resist statutory Press regulation.

Sir John Stanley (Con), MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said: "Like everyone else, journalists have to remain subject to the criminal law and to the law on libel and defamation.

"However, I attach the utmost importance to maintaining freedom of expression in Britain which is fundamental to a free society.

"I shall of course give careful consideration to the Leveson Report, but I don’t want to see politicians controlling the Press."

And Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke (Con) said: "I am very firmly in favour of a free press and I am totally opposed to state control of the press.

"I believe in self regulation of the press but I do feel that the Press Complaints Commission has not worked as well as it should."

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