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Integrity of media 'not for sale'

Media organisations should consider barring from the trade journalists guilty of "gross malpractice", the Labour conference has been told.

The party would also produce stricter rules on media ownership and back independent regulation of the press, shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis said.

In a message to Rupert Murdoch, Mr Lewis said: "The integrity of our media and our politics is not for sale."

Setting out his reforms Mr Lewis said: "Never again can one commercial organisation have so much power and control over our media.

"In the period ahead, Labour will bring forward proposals for new, tougher cross-media ownership laws."

While a free press was "non-negotiable", Mr Lewis said: "We need a new system of independent regulation, including proper, like-for-like redress which means that mistakes and falsehoods on the front page receive apologies and retraction on the front page.

Delegates at the gathering in Liverpool were asked to back a motion calling for Mr Murdoch's son James to stand down as chairman of BSkyB.

Labour MP Tom Watson, who has led the campaign against phone hacking in Parliament, said: "Let's tell Ofcom what we think about James Murdoch. I wouldn't put him on the board of an ornamental garden; he's certainly not a fit and proper person to chair a major broadcaster."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, who moved the motion delegates will vote on later in the conference, said: "For our party, there should also have been an element of shame because for years we were complicit in propping up Murdoch's power."

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant, a critic of News International, said Labour became too close to the company during the party's 13 years in government. He told the conference: "In future we should choose our bedfellows with a little more care."


From Belfast Telegraph