Dominic Mohan, Sun Editor, Says Page 3 Girls Are 'Healthy Role Models'
During a second appearance at the Leveson Inquiry Mohan defended the use of semi-naked women on one of the paper's most prominent pages because it promoted "natural beauty".
"Some of the allegations I've heard about the Sun being sexist and not tackling women's issues is a false one. It [Page 3] is 42-year-old British institution that celebrates natural beauty.
"It is worth looking at Page 3 in the wider context of women's issues that we cover."
"I think Page 3 is a matter of taste," he added later.
Mohan went on to argue that all models were seen as ambassadors for The Sun brand and that far from being a sexist organisation, it was keen to promote campaigns on issues such as domestic violence.
When quizzed by counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC over a "ridiculous" science story which claimed that reading page 3 could make readers "brainer" Mohan said the story should have been seen as "a cheeky interpretation of a scientific survey".
Earlier at the hearing, Mohan conceded today he could not be 100% sure that some showbusiness stories published in the tabloid had not been obtained by phone hacking.
He was questioned over a series of celebrity stories dating from a number of years ago.
Among them were an article about Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and his then-wife Patsy Kensit and another about EastEnders star Martine McCutcheon, both from 1998.
Asked by Jay whether these stories might have been obtained by hacking into voicemails, Mr Mohan replied: "Look, I can't say 100% and there's an investigation being conducted by the Management Standards Committee at News International, as you well know."
And he told the hearing there were various other sources that such stories tended to be obtained from in any case.
"Many stories are obtained through going to events, talking to celebrities at nightclubs, in bars," he said.
"At this time I was...interviewing a lot of celebrities who would tell me things off the record."
It was "more likely" that the Liam Gallagher story had come from a Sun reporter's contacts than from phone hacking, he said.
He also protested that he could not be "expected to remember sources from 14 years ago".
Mr Mohan, who formerly edited The Sun's showbusiness column, Bizarre, has been at the helm of the newspaper since 2009