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PSNI 'unaware' of any inquiry into press relations

DUP MP Ian Paisley and culture secretary Matt Hancock in the Commons
Brendan Hughes

THE PSNI has said it is unaware of any inquiry into media relations with the police, following confusion over claims of a Leveson-style review in Northern Ireland.

Last week the British government moved to clarify that there are no plans for a general review of press standards in the north.

It came after culture secretary Matt Hancock told MPs they planned to have a "named person review the standards of the press in Northern Ireland", which was welcomed by DUP MP Ian Paisley as a "Leveson for Northern Ireland".

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) later clarified that the review is UK-wide, specifically relates to examining media compliance with new data protection regulations, and individuals will also be appointed to look at other regions.

There was further confusion after the BBC's website reported that the review was about "press relations with the police in Northern Ireland", although there was no reference to police in DCMS statements.

This line was later removed, but the BBC Northern Ireland section carried a headline that read: "Review of press relations with PSNI."

Yesterday a PSNI spokeswoman said: "We are not aware of any inquiry into press relations with the PSNI."

The Leveson inquiry was set up in 2011 in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World.

Several people from the north gave evidence to the inquiry in 2012, including former PSNI chief constables Matt Baggott and Sir Hugh Orde, and Irish News editor Noel Doran.

The BBC said its report was "based on a debate in the House of Commons".

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