Back in September 2011 the Daily Mail reported on a proposal by a Labour MP to impose controls upon the press. The Mail was clearly opposed to the idea:
A shadow minister yesterday announced plans for a draconian crackdown on the Press. Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis provoked a storm of protest when he suggested journalists should be licensed – meaning they could be 'struck off' and banned from working.
In fact, so incensed was the Mail by this suggestion it put the boot in to Lewis for daring to suggest it, no doubt by way of a warning:
Mr Lewis, who has in the past faced embarrassing revelations in newspapers about his own private life...
But wind the clock forward four months and Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has been up in front of the Leveson Inquiry sharing his thoughts on how to clean up his profession.
His big idea? Licensing journalists and "striking them off" if they cross the line:
"It would be part of the civil contract, if you like, that the ombudsman figure would have the right to recommend that accredited journalists guilty of gross malfeasance have their press cards cancelled, as the GMC strikes off doctors."
Where does he get these ideas?
Dacre did include a slight twist, suggesting these licences should be limited to the traditional media houses, such as his employer Associated Newspapers and a select group of rivals he has learned to rub along with:
"I do believe there's an opportunity to build on the existing haphazard press card system... by transforming it into an essential kite mark for ethical and proper journalism. The key would be to make the cards available only to members of print news-gathering organisations or magazines who have signed up to the new body and its code...
"There would... be universal agreement that briefings and press conferences by government bodies, local authorities and the police, access to sporting, royal and celebrity events, material from the BBC and ITV, and information from medical and scientific bodies would only, only be given to accredited journalists."
This self-serving suggestion is a clear attempt to ostracise whole swathes of the predominantly online media industry who would eat Dacre's lunch given half the chance.