Nick Clegg: Regional press must not pay price for phone-hacking scandal
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said the local and regional press "must not pay the price" for the recent phone-hacking scandal.
It came as the three main political parties reached an eleventh-hour deal on regulating the press with a Royal Charter similar to that which governs the BBC.
A new independent regulator will now have powers to impose million-pound fines on publishers and demand up-front apologies from them.
But during an emergency debate in the House of Commons, the Liberal Democrat leader said the "local and regional press should not pay the price for problems they did not create".
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The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently making its way through the House of Lords, will be amended to "protect" the Charter.
When Lord Leveson published his recommendations late last year, he made a point of saying that any new regulatory system "should not provide an added burden to the regional and local press".
He said: "It is clear to me that local, high-quality and trusted newspapers are good for our communities, our identity and our democracy and play an important social role."