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Free speech under threat by Data Protection amendments, says Advertiser and Express editor

The Advertiser and Express editor has joined  regional editors across the country in calling for MPs to vote against the anti-press amendments in the Data Protection Bill today (Wednesday).

MPs will vote on an amendment to the Data Protection Bill tabled by Ed Miliband MP which would establish a new statutory inquiry into all media organisations.

A separate amendment by Tom Watson MP, deputy leader of the Labour party, would introduce draconian costs into the data protection regime, requiring publishers to pay all the claimants’ costs of legal actions brought against them as well as their own, win or lose.

Despite modifications purporting to exempt local papers, the cost sanctions would still impact on 85 per cent of the local press.

Editor Martin Trepte said: "The amendments represent an attack on press freedom which is completely unacceptable in our society. As a point of principle, we stand united against these attacks on free speech and urge all MPs to do likewise by voting against all the amendments on today."

Archant chief content officer Matt Kelly said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the effect the Section 40 costs sanctions and proposed inquiry would have on the business.

He said: “MPs must stand up for the local newspapers and local democracy by decisively rejecting both measures.”  

Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville said: "MPs must show their support for local journalism and local newspapers by rejecting the anti-press amendments in the Data Protection Bill. Local and regional journalism is simply too important to our democracy to be sacrificed."  

Trinity Mirror Regionals editorial director Alan Edmunds said: "We do not want our journalists facing the spectre of Leveson 2 when attempting to report on the activities of public figures, entirely legitimately and in the public interest. Another huge inquiry would only embolden those who would rather keep their activities hidden from scrutiny." 

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  • Pursuer

    14:02, 09 May 2018

    The wealthy & influential - an some of Lords & MP's, want to ensure that the media doesn't reveal some of their activities. Perhaps they might remember what they say when wanting to introduce new regulating powers, in other areas 'You have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide'.

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  • be_ transparent

    10:10, 09 May 2018

    Any MP that votes for Ed Milliband’s or Tom Watson’s amendments is an enemy of press freedom.

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