Responding to the announcement that the Press Standards Board of Finance is publishing draft constitutional documents to set up what it bills an “Independent Press Standards Organisation”, Professor Brian Cathcart, Executive Director of Hacked Off said:
“This is no more than a cynical rebranding exercise, the latest rearguard action by press proprietors and editors who want to defy the will of Parliament and of the Leveson Inquiry. They are determined to hold on to the power to bully the public without facing any consequences.
“They have been told by Lord Justice Leveson and by Parliament that they must set up a self-regulator that meets basic standards of independence and effectiveness. What they are saying here is that they will not meet those standards but they will meet their own, which are appallingly low.
“The body behind this is PressBoF, a small, shadowy group of powerful press bosses who were condemned by Leveson for the cynical way they pretended for decades to run a regulator but in fact secretly ensured that nothing it did would ever challenge their power.
“These same people are currently, through their lawyers, doing all in their power to stall the final approval of the Royal Charter based on Leveson and agreed by all parties in Parliament on 18 March.
“By their actions they are telling the public that they are not answerable to judges, and not subject to the democratic will of Parliament. They are telling us that they are outlaws.
“Hacked Off, their many supporters and the victims of press abuses will continue their campaign to bring them to book.”
Footnote: The following newspapers are understood not to be connected to the establishment of the so-called “Independent Press Standards Organisation”: The Independent, the Financial Times, The Guardian and The Observer. It is not clear at the time of writing whether Northern and Shell, publishers of the Express are involved or not.