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Gillingham MP Rehman Chishti backs state regulation of the press

By Bob Bounds

Rehman ChishtiGillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti has backed calls for statutory regulation of the press.

Mr Chishti was one of more than 40 Conservatives who signed a letter ahead of the publication of a long-awaited report into the ethics and practices of the industry.

In a letter to The Guardian calling for the move, the MPs argue Parliament "must not duck the challenge" to take a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to put things right."

A free Press is essential for a free society they argue, but any new regulator needs to be independent of the Press and politicians or it will be "destined to fail."

Mr Chishti had previously said he would not express a view until the Leveson report was released.

According to the Daily Telegraph a number of the signatories - not Mr Chishti - had experienced "bruising encounters" with the press.

They included Mike Weatherly whose Brazilian wife Carla was reportedly working as a prostitute and Mark Field, who according to the Daily Mail had a secret 18-month affair with Tory parliamentary candidate Liz Truss. 

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

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.

One of those is Kent university journalism professor Tim Luckhurst, who is based at the university’s Chatham Maritime campus.

He has resigned from the National Union of Journalists in protest at the organisation’s backing for statutory regulation.

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