Wednesday, 31 May 2017

InPublishing: Press regulation the mess we're in

I've written an article for InPublishing magazine about the confusing mess UK press regulation is in.

Newspapers can now chose from two press regulators, IPSO or IMPRESS, or, as in the case of the Financial Times, the Independent and the Guardian, opt for no regulator at all.

In the article I argue that the strong protests over the threat of Section 40 being imposed on the press are based on the experience of publishers and journalists who have suffered frustrating, lengthy and expensive dealings with libel lawyers. If section 40 is enacted, publishers not signed up to a Royal Charter-backed regulator like IMPRESS could end up paying both sides legal costs even if they win a libel case.

Also, many journalists and publishers believe there are more urgent issues facing the press than that of regulation: such as the survival of the local press and the way internet giants like Google and Facebook are hoovering up so much advertising revenue.

You can read the article here:

  • The article went to press before the announcement of a General Election. The Conservatives have pledged to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act and to scrap Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry.  Labour has pledged to implement the recommendations of Part 1 of  Leveson and commence Part 2. It has also said it is concerned about closures of local media outlets and the reductions in number of local journalists. Labour says it will "hold a national review of local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality."
  • Labour and the Liberals have confirmed to Press Gazette that they would fully commence Section 40 even though the pledge is not included in their manifestos.

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