Hacked Off analyse the IPSO Board announcement

IPSO, the son-of-PCC being set up by the big newspaper companies, has announced its board. Below is the IPSO statement, with Hacked Off’s comments in italics.

Sir Hayden Phillips, Chair of the Selection Panel, and Sir Alan Moses, Chair of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), announce today the names of the twelve strong Board that will lead the new press regulator for the United Kingdom.

It is not ‘the new press regulator for the United Kingdom’. There will be at least one other regulator because IMPRESS is currently setting it up. IPSO is the ‘regulator’ set up by the Murdoch, Mail, Telegraph and Mirror papers and their friends, in defiance of the Leveson report.

The Board will meet soon and start work so that IPSO is prepared and ready to act as the regulator in September.

This is another delay. Originally IPSO was supposed to be operating in 2013, then April 2014, then June…

Important initial tasks for the Board will be to appoint the IPSO Complaints Committee, a Chief Executive and consider how best to create an arbitration service.

This last is an acknowledgement that, although Leveson said a regulator MUST have an arbitration service, IPSO will only consider it. And who will decide? Not IPSO’s board, but the big newspaper groups, who have a veto.

This period of preparation provides an important opportunity for the Board to consider and discuss the regulations and procedures for which it will be responsible.

The IPSO Board is not in any way responsible for writing the regulations and procedures, as this seems to imply. Those are already set out in detail in the IPSO paperwork, which can only be changed with the approval of the big newspaper groups.

Until IPSO formally starts work as the regulator, the Press Complaints Commission will continue with its existing functions and responsibilities.

So more than eighteen months after Leveson reported, the public is asked to go on enduring the PCC system he condemned. Why have they not done the simple and responsible thing, and set up a Leveson-compliant self-regulator that will protect ordinary people and uphold standards?

Sir Alan will be meeting and hearing the views of those concerned with the work of the new regulator. There will be public meetings across the United Kingdom.

This will be the first public ‘consultation’ of any kind in the entire, lengthy process of establishing IPSO, and it comes too late – after the rules, powers and procedures are all set out and only amendable by the newspapers. If the public tells the Board that they will only trust a regulator that is recognised under the Leveson Royal Charter, what will they do?

The Board includes people from business, diplomacy, consumer rights, the pensions sector, academia, the voluntary sector and the publishing and newspaper industries. Experience is drawn from across the United Kingdom.

It was also set up in a dodgy process that involved (1) a secret change in the rules to remove any obligation to openness, and (2) the presence of ‘industry representatives’ on the appointments panel, who enjoyed a veto.

Sir Hayden said “The new Board contains distinguished people from different walks of life and with a mix of skills and achievements that will, I believe, ensure the new regulator will be able to build the trust of the public.

The skills and achievements of these people are neither here nor there, because they have no power to change IPSO, and IPSO is just as bad as the PCC, if not worse. Only the big newspaper companies, who have gone to a lot of trouble to make IPSO toothless, can authorise any change in its articles and rules.

“I was delighted that there was such a large and strong field of candidates from which the Panel was able to select. I am confident the new Directors have the stature and experience to bring into being a tough and independent regulator that will stand the test of time”.

Leveson didn’t talk about toughness but effectiveness, and he set out 38 recommendations to ensure a press self-regulator was effective and independent. IPSO meets just 12 of those.

Sir Alan joined the interview Panel after his appointment as Chair of IPSO in May. He said “I am delighted to have the chance to work with such a talented group of independent-minded people, committed to provide rigorous and strong regulation.

For independence, rigour and strength, see above.

“Now we must start our work of preparation. We plan to use the coming period to listen and engage with the public, experts and the industry before IPSO’s formal launch in September. This will be a new era of self regulation of our newspapers, ready to provide the independent regulation to which the public is entitled.”

Again, if the public and the experts say IPSO must be reformed and must seek recognition to ensure it is sufficiently independent and effective to protect the public, what will this Board do?

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Stephen Barberreply
May 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm

When IPSO starts inviting views it would be helpful if you provide a model response with which we can inundate them.

Danlin Lireply
June 16, 2014 at 1:46 am

To be a foreign observer, I support hacked off’s analysis.

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