Response to letter to Queen from international press organisations
In response to a letter from seven international media associations to the Queen asking her not to grant the Royal Charter on the press, Hacked Off’s Executive Director, Brian Cathcart, said:
‘It’s obvious that these bodies have been duped into taking this initiative by the big British press companies. The letter shows that they are completely misinformed about the content and purpose of the Royal Charter and that unlike the British public they have fallen for the hysterical scaremongering of a small group of self-interested editors and proprietors.
‘Worse than that, they don’t seem to realise the ludicrous position they have put themselves in by claiming to talk about democracy while demanding that the British monarch should deny the united will of every single party in Parliament.
‘Everything about the letter from the seven organisations suggests that either it was dictated for them by the bosses of the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Murdoch press, or that their knowledge of what is happening in Britain is informed exclusively by reading those papers, whose coverage has been biased to the point of parody.
‘They say in their letter that the Royal Charter is “in reality a set of repressive statutory controls” when it obviously isn’t. It is a Royal Charter and was designed as a Royal Charter as a concession to the press. Among other things, it states clearly that a press self-regulator “should not have the power to prevent publication of any material, by anyone, at any time.”
‘They say it “brings Parliament for the first time ever to the heart of the newsroom”. What nonsense. It protects the press and its self-regulatory system from political interference to a degree never seen before in Britain.
‘They say it will have “a chilling effect on journalism throughout the United Kingdom” when in practice the new system will give investigative journalists greater freedom from intimidation by powerful institutions and wealthy individuals than ever before.
‘Strikingly, the letter fails to take note of the shocking abuses suffered by the Queen’s subjects at the hands of big, rich newspaper companies over the past decade and more – abuses which prompted a formal public inquiry whose recommendations are implemented in the Royal Charter.
‘Where were these seven bodies when British newspapers were hacking phones, stealing data, intruding in privacy, bullying and libelling?’