During a talk at Leeds Trinity University Journalism Week, Mr Wallis, 60, said that if the government go ahead with Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, “it will end 375 years of press freedom.” He added that MPs are the last group of people who should be allowed to regulate on press freedom. He said: ”Believing that MPs can control the press is like believing in Santa.”
Mr Wallis said that Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations for data protection will make investigative journalism impossible. He said that the Information Commissioner's Office would essentially become a regulator of the press, adding that it would make it impossible to protect sources from the police and other interested parties.
He said, the fact the “more journalists are on remand or bail in this country than in Iran” is proof that there is already a sufficient legal framework in place.
Mr Wallis said that a free press is vital in a healthy democracy because “it holds to account the state, the government and the establishment.” He added: “Free press is about the ability of newspapers to investigate what they want.”
He urged journalists to rally against the Hacked Off campaign which he believes is “funded by self-serving celebrities” who are looking to protect their own interests.