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Hacked Off respond to Maria Miller's comments on press regulation on Marr, BBC1

A spokesman said:

‘Mrs Miller is right to say that under the Royal Charter granted last week the press can set up its own self-regulator and if it meets the basic standards of independence and effectiveness set down in the Charter it will be recognised and its members will enjoy substantial benefits.

‘The IPSO scheme put forward by the big newspaper groups does not at present meet those standards and a significant number of changes would be necessary relating to both independence and effectiveness before it could be recognised.

‘If those behind IPSO make those changes in full, and IPSO can then achieve recognition under the Charter, Hacked Off believes that the public would finally have the kind of redress in cases of press abuses that Lord Justice Leveson recommended.

‘We urge proprietors and editors to make the necessary changes so that IPSO complies with Royal Charter standards.

‘Mrs Miller is misinformed if she has suggested that the Royal Charter might then be redundant. The Leveson Report made clear that any press self-regulator would need to be subject to regular inspection over the years to ensure that its standards did not decline and it did not decay into another Press Complaints Commission. That is a key role of the body established under Royal Charter and it is not now within the power of Mrs Miller or any other politician to prevent the Charter body operating in that way.

‘Mrs Miller suggests that campaign groups are pressing for statutory regulation. This is curious. We know of no organisation or individuals in this country seeking statutory regulation of the press. No one who gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry called for statutory regulation, and the inquiry’s report stated that it had been unable to detect any demand for statutory regulation in Britain. Perhaps Mrs Miller could say whom she has in mind.’

7 Comments

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David Woolnoughreply
July 29, 2013 at 1:22 am

Got to change the government and get some major social changes in place before anything can be done about this.
These companies with wealth and influence are running this country on their own terms.

Andrew Fordereply
July 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

It is nice to know that Professor Brian Cathcart is well able to take on the fight against the combined total of National newspapers on behalf of the general public, and hopefully win the case. It is a very important battle that he is fighting on our behalf, and he deserves all the support he can get from everyone

Alex Casalereply
July 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm

The tabloids operate in an amoral parallel universe where the bottom line is selling newspapers. Steve Coogan

Robert Reynoldsreply
July 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Across society, the explanation of so much that is proffered as ‘news’, passes for entertainment, or pretends to be information, is the fear and reality of ‘hard times’.

Naturally, ‘hard times’ will be at the root of much press misconduct, both in the past and – sadly – in resistance to effective self-regulation. Professed fear in the tabloid press might be for viability rather than polarising political influence. In the quality press the reverse might be claimed, genuine desire to inform politics imperilled by dependence on cross-subsidy from the opposite.

The provisions of the All-Party Charter allow real hope that journalists and editors – ‘even’ owners – might resist ‘pressed service’ (in the media-wing of the political flight) for Mammon. It is at least arguable that if trust were enabled in at least the breadth of published debate (in one cover), many more of us would be glad to take ‘The Daily News’, and so end corruptible insecurity.

For all of us ‘getting by’ in a culture of exclusion, of inequality precluding genuine democracy, the charge will stick – in some measure – of ‘hypocrisy’. The higher the hypocrisy, the higher perhaps its practised excuses, weary observation of eternal conflict “between two great principles” (John Lloyd FT Magazine 20/21 July), the “freedom to publish” opposed to “freedom to be private”, rather than to freedom – in conscience – NOT to publish.

Understanding denied of the conditions for viable democracy – essentially of equal partnership – even journalists of some style may be reduced to equating cultivated appetites and actual ailments “of ordinary citizens”, the puncturing of pretensions and the transcendence of sham. Lloyd echoes hopes not from Leveson, but in a News of the World revival, for the “lost art of describing human fallibility”, a feat of self-misunderestimation!

Undoubtedly, many lesser or less lucky journalists have suffered, greatly, in the service of ‘freedom for fear and greed’ (that which the barons wish ‘long to rule over us’). Others though, remain free to declaim – and to be – “preposterous”, themselves accepting no responsibility for the fallen, for victims either amongst colleagues or the public. The reality is obscured that ‘in the public interest’ much will always be risked – by both officials and journalists – without the passing of money, without persecutory torture.

In our news media, as in all spheres of ‘public service’, we depend much on trust. To KNOW that ‘the public interest’ is best served, we will need all to be free, to ‘own’ our direction of travel, as equal partners. Continuing in surrender of our freedom to speak, and to act in conscience, we cannot reasonably expect that for ourselves or our children we will be happy – or even tolerably content – with the outcome.

The burden of rulership – even if accepted as in emulation of democracy – is too heavy for any to whom we might surrender it, certainly out press barons. Fear of the internet is no excuse for mock-fear of the All-Party Charter, for pretence that IPSO – sharing “90% of the content” – can be counted Leveson compliant. Any more than a chimp, sharing 99% of our DNA, can be human.

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Pattern-chaserreply
April 4, 2014 at 10:06 am

The powerful use their power to get what they want and to do what they want. Politicians are powerful. So are the press. Both of them are necessary, and both of them are corrupt, so they behave well and badly, sometimes simultaneously. Mostly they lie to us, which is a sad reflection on them, and on us too.

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