Letter by victims of press abuse to the Guardian

Posted: October 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Royal charter is no threat to free press

In the light of the Edward Snowden affair, your editorial (18 October) rightly makes the case for politicians to avoid trying to control or restrict what newspapers say on matters of public interest. You also say that the royal charter on press regulation needs to be viewed in the light of the fallout from Snowden. It is important to point out that there is nothing in the royal charter scheme which introduces any kind of pre-publication control of newspaper content or any direct influence post-publication. It merely enables an inspector to ensure that the press’s own successor to the PCC is effective and independent. The royal charter would ban politicians from any part of the process, unlike the PCC, which is headed and assisted by party-political peers. Parliament has decided that a two-thirds majority would be required to change the criteria by which the independent inspector or independent press regulators were judged every three years. If such a change were made the most that could happen is that a recognised regulator would lose its approval and turn into a regulator like the PCC or the proposed IPSO. This is hardly the great threat to press freedom some papers are suggesting.
Professor Sheila Hollins, Christopher Jefferies, Ed Blum, Jacqui Hames, Jane Winter, John Tulloch

(This was cross-posted from the Guardian website)

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