Hacked Off welcome rejection of NMA Judicial Review on all grounds: “Today’s ruling that IMPRESS is legally recognised is a further blow to the corporate press industry’s campaign to resist the Leveson reforms… the Government must now act to commence the incentives that were agreed by Parliament”

Posted: October 12, 2017 at 11:07 am

Commenting on the scathing rejection on every ground by the High Court of the Judicial Review challenge by large newspaper corporations against the recognition of the Leveson regulator, IMPRESS, by the Royal Charter Press Recognition Panel, Hacked Off Joint Executive Director Dr Evan Harris said,

“Today’s ruling that IMPRESS is legally recognised is a further blow to the corporate press industry’s campaign to resist the Leveson reforms, and a clear sign that their self-interested campaign against the Royal Charter system is bound to fail.

“Victims of press abuse now call upon newspapers to take advantage of the effective independent regulation offered by IMPRESS, secure in the knowledge that its recognition by the PRP was legitimate and lawful, and that the post-Leveson system is here to stay.

“The judgement makes clear that industry opposition to reform cannot be a veto on effective independent regulation, so the Government must now act to commence the incentives that were agreed by Parliament to give extra free speech protections for those publications which have joined IMPRESS, and to provide access to justice for victims of intrusion of those newspapers who do not join.”

Peter Jukes, Director of independent investigative journalism outlet Byline, said,

“In bringing this challenge the NMA have disgracefully sought to deprive the local newspapers who have signed up to IMPRESS of the free speech and financial protections they would be afforded under the Leveson system.

“The NMA’s persistent attacks on the freedom of expression, and the viability, of the local independent newspapers who have signed up to independent regulation is an affront to working journalists everywhere, and the NMA should reflect on how they can represent the whole industry rather than simply the wealthiest and most powerful newspaper groups if they are to regain any credibility.”

Background

  • Judgment can be read here.
  • In November 2016, press regulator IMPRESS was formally recognised by the Press Recognition Panel as meeting the Leveson criteria for independence and effectiveness.
  • This challenge against the PRP’s decision was brought by the News Media Association, a body which represents the large newspaper groups, which has set itself against the Leveson system in general. The challenge comes in spite of the fact that no NMA members have joined or sought to establish a regulator which meets Leveson’s criteria for independence and effectiveness.
  • The Leveson incentive contained in section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would provide new free speech protections for newspapers in a recognised regulator, and provide access to justice for media claimants. The Government has yet to commence it.
  • The NMA’s JR, if successful, would have deprived local publishers of the prospective free speech and financial protections afforded by section 40 under the Leveson system, and deprived victims of illegal press conduct of access to justice.

Notes

  • Hacked Off is the campaign for a free and accountable press, and we work with the victims of press abuse to achieve those aims.

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