Speaking today at the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and standards, which was launched in response to the phone hacking affair, Barber said that journalists should be held "accountable in the court of public opinion".
Barber called for the establishment of a new independent press regulator, which was "robust, credible and worthy of joining".
He added: "We are in the last chance saloon drinking our last pint. It is incumbent on the industry to produce new, credible proposals for independent regulation."
The News of the World was shut down in July last year following a string of revelations about the hacking of phones of high-profile individuals by its journalists.
Barber feels that the Financial Times "should be the gold standard in journalism", as its relationship with readers is "one of trust".
"They need to be able to trust the information that we provide and that is why we have a very stiff code of conduct which goes beyond the PCC (Press Complaints Commission)," Barber told Lord Leveson at the inquiry.
He said that employees who could harm the Financial Times' reputation faced the sack, providing real and meaningful penalties for anyone engaging in malpractice.
The FT also uses a minimum of two primary sources for stories, as relying only on a single source meant "you could potentially be manipulated", said Barber.
"I would argue that the Financial Times code of conduct is a model for self-regulation," he said. "Because the penalties for not getting it right are severe."
Yesterday, The Sun editor Dominic Mohan told the inquiry that the tabloid newspaper no longer uses private investigators, while former editor Kelvin Mackenzie defended the process of paying people for information.
Meanwhile, The Times has claimed that prime minister David Cameron will be asked to appear before the Leveson Inquiry to answer questions over his relationship with News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch.
A spokesman for Cameron told reporters today: "We haven't received any request but, when the prime minister announced that we were setting up the inquiry, he made very clear that it would have the ability to call politicians, including serving politicians and previous prime ministers. Obviously, if he was asked to attend, he would."
The Times further claimed that Labour leader Ed Miliband and ex-prime minister Gordon Brown are also expected to appear at the inquiry.
More news from the Leveson Inquiry:
> Piers Morgan denies Daily Mirror ever hacked phones
> News of the World reporters defend the paper at Leveson Inquiry