Retail associations have rounded on a new self-regulatory body that has been set up to monitor the newspaper and magazine sector.

The Press Distribution Forum has been formed by the Association of News & Magazine Wholesalers, the Newspaper Publishers Association and the Periodical Publishers Association, following a long-running investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into the newstrade.

It plans to release a Press Distribution Charter code of practice in the autumn, which PDF chairman Adrian Smith said would include “many significant developments for retailers”.

He said the document was “based on draft proposals put together by the British Retail Consortium, National Federation of Retail Newsagents and Association of News Retailing”.

He said the NFRN had been unable to join because of “financial and political reasons” but would be welcome to join at a later date.

But retail associations dismissed his claims as “misleading”.

In a statement, the NFRN said: “While the PDF may like to think it has the blessing of the NFRN, we can categorically state it does not. We have no wish at this stage to be involved. It is not because of finances or politics. We simply don’t believe we will get any outcomes that benefit our members.”

ANR managing director John Lennon added: “The industry charter bears no relationship to the proposals put forward by ANR for improvements to the pre-existing self regulatory framework. It is for this reason that ANR could not support it.”

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