Broken promise #3

The power to impose £1m fines for serious or systemic wrong-doing

If IPSO is committed to Leveson’s recommendation that the regulator have the power to impose fines for serious or systemic wrong-doing, then why this is power not contained its Regulations?

  • The promise of fines has proven to be a bare-faced lie. As the PRP recognises, IPSO does not have the power to impose fines for serious violations of the Editors’ Code. It does not have the power to impose fines for systemic violations of the Editors’ Code. Instead, it has the power (allegedly) to impose fines for serious AND systemic violations of the Editors’ Code. This is a much higher threshold. Moreover, it is a threshold that provides considerable latitude to IPSO to avoid ever having to impose fines, for what exactly constitutes a serious and systemic violation of the Editors’ Code?
  • The reason for this is, of course, painfully obvious. An organisation that exists only at its members’ indulgence cannot afford to provoke displeasure by dispensing financial sanctions. Disgruntled members will leave, as Northern & Shell newspapers left the PCC when it grew tired of it. This is why IPSO has never yet and likely will never impose a significant fine on any of its members: it is not in its best interests to do so.

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