Poll shows public support for independent regulator
by Brian Cathcart
There is overwhelming public support for independent regulation of the press backed by law, a new opinion poll shows. Seventy-eight per cent of those asked – in an unusually large sample of people – said they preferred this kind of body to any regulator established by newspapers themselves.
With weeks to go before the Leveson report is published, the poll is dramatic evidence of the isolation of the newspaper industry, and particularly of those editors and proprietors of national newspapers who continue to press for another round of press self-regulation.
When people were asked whether they agreed that, after the hacking scandal, newspaper owners and editors should no longer control the press complaints system, 77 per cent agreed and only 5 per cent disagreed. Seventy-one per cent thought we could not trust editors to ensure their journalists acted in the public interest, and 68 per cent said the government should do more to correct inaccurate stories.
The poll of 2,846 people was commissioned by Hacked Off and the Media Standards Trust and conducted by Yougov, a member of the British Polling Council which has polled for the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times, among other publications. It was carried out earlier this month.
When compared with other surveys over the past year, the new poll suggests that public opinion is hardening against the editors and proprietors just as Leveson completes his work. And it showed high levels of faith in the judge, with twice as many people saying they trusted him to make fair and effective recommendations as didn’t, and 57 per cent saying the government should implement his recommendations – against just 6 per cent who said it shouldn’t.
Hacked Off shared the poll findings with the Prime Minister last week and has sent them to Lord Justice Leveson in advance of publication today.
View the full poll results here.
Brian Cathcart is director of Hacked Off. He tweets at @BrianCathcart.