The newly-revealed list of members of the appointments panel for IPSO – the newspaper proprietors’ PCC mark 2 – predictably fails to meet Lord Justice Leveson’s criteria that it must contain a ‘substantial majority of members who are demonstrably independent of the press. It also demonstrates how determined the big newspaper companies are to avoid genuine accountability.
Hacked Off’s director, Professor Brian Cathcart, said: “This shows the newspaper companies’ utter contempt for the very idea of independence. In a process that could hardly be less transparent, they hand-picked a retired judge who, by a second and equally obscure process, has now chosen a group that includes a serving editor employed by Rupert Murdoch who has displayed an extraordinary bias against the public in his papers’ coverage of press affairs.
“Alongside him, remarkably, is a former member of the discredited Press Complaints Commission (PCC). And instead of having a substantial majority of members who are demonstrably independent of the press, it has the smallest possible majority. This is exactly the kind of shifty operating that made the PCC such a disgrace.
“But none of this really matters because whoever is nominally in charge of IPSO will be the puppets of the big news publishers, just as the PCC was. Mr Murdoch, the Mail and the Telegraph have taken great care to ensure that they will hold the purse strings and call the shots. The Leveson Report said of the PCC that it was run for the benefit of the press, rather than the public. The same is true of the IPSO project.
“As the Prime Minister pointed out in a recent interview, what the newspaper industry needs to do to win the public’s trust is to establish a self-regulator that meets the basic standards recommended by Leveson and embodied in the Royal Charter. Anything less – and IPSO is far, far less – is a recipe for further outrages against the public and further loss of faith in journalism. “
The members of the panel are understood to be:
- Sir Hayden Phillips (Chair)
- John Witherow (Editor, member Editors’ Code of Practice Committee)
- Paul Horrocks (ex-Editor, former PCC member)
- Lord Simon Brown
- Dame Denise Platt