Hacked Off tell press bosses: Break your silence and stand with us to defend press regulation from political interference

A Parliamentarian who until recently sat on a partisan basis has been announced as the next Chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the newspaper complaints-handler.


The appointee was a party-political Member of the House of Lords for over 9 years before his appointment was confirmed. He was also a Government Minister for over two years. His appointment would be banned under the Royal Charter model for independent self-regulation of news publishers, on the grounds of protecting freedom of expression.


Hacked Off has today written to the editors of some of Britain’s most popular newspapers and largest newspaper associations, asking them to condemn political interference in regulation, given the risk it poses to freedom of the press.


Hacked Off Policy Manager Nathan Sparkes:

“Leading journalists, free speech advocates and press abuse victims have come together over the last four weeks to condemn the appointment of a politician as Chair of press complaints- handler IPSO: a clear violation of the principle that regulators must be free of political Interference.

“Yet while journalists and campaigners have spoken out, the same newspaper editors and executives who rely on spurious and unsubstantiated claims of political interference to reject the Leveson model of independent regulation have been missing in action.

“Today we have written directly to the editors of some of Britain’s greatest and most popular newspapers, in addition to associations the News Media Association and the Society of Editors, urging them to break their silence over this appointment and sign a simple statement criticising political interference in IPSO.

“A failure to speak out over this political appointment will show that press bosses’ genuine objections to the Leveson model have nothing to do with the fear of involvement from politicians, which that model prohibits, and everything to do with the prospect of facing meaningful accountability.”




For press enquiries contact: sara@hackinginquiry.org  07554 665 940



Hacked Off is the campaign for a free and accountable press, and we work with the victims of press abuse to achieve those aims.


Individuals written to include:

Editor of the Daily Mirror, Alison Phillips

Editor of the Spectator, Fraser Nelson

Editor in Chief of The Sun, Tony Gallagher

Editor of the Daily Mail, Geordie Greig

The News Media Association

The Society of Editors


Text of the template letter:


Re: Significant risk to press freedom in the UK


The newspaper complaints-handler “IPSO” has appointed a Parliamentarian to serve as the organisation’s next Chair from January 2020.  The appointee sat with the Conservative Party in the House of Lords before accepting the role.

It is the view of the Hacked Off Campaign that politicians who have sat on a partisan basis within the last five years should have no influence whatsoever over the operation of press regulators or complaints-handlers, in line with the Royal Charter requirements for recognised self-regulators.

We have published a statement (set out on the next page) which criticises this appointment as a risk to press freedom, thus rendering IPSO unfit to be a newspaper complaints-handler.

I hope you will agree that politicians should have no influence or control over newspaper complaints-handlers.

We encourage all those who share our conviction that press complaints-handling and regulatory bodies should not be run by politicians to put their names to this statement.

We rely on people like you to make a difference.

Give now to support the campaign for a free and accountable press.



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Frank Northreply
August 28, 2019 at 3:49 pm

This appointment is in clear violation of Lord Leveson’s report and should be recinded immediately.

Ian McDonaldreply
August 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Tired of news manipulation by millionaire editors who consistenytly support only the Conservative Party. An independent adjudicator on news media standards is badly needed, and one who has never been a politician

Donald Fraserreply
August 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

The absurd allegation of “Fake News” in perpetuity by unaccountable political leaders is underpinned by an IPSO puppet regulator being appointed in the manner proposed.

David Colemanreply
August 28, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Foxes taking care of Chickens? Inmates running the Lunatic Asylum? Mad Hatter`s Tea Party?

Dr. J. Gibbreply
August 28, 2019 at 4:39 pm

This issue should have been resolved long ago by Leveson II. Unfortunately, we now face one of the most important political decisions in our history without the assurance that our press can be held to account for any bias in reporting or in the views its members choose to report and promulgate. The situation is quite disgraceful and demands urgent remedy if we are not to become the laughing stock of the rational world.

Gordon Stevensreply
August 28, 2019 at 4:41 pm

A disgraceful appointment. There should be no political appointees, independents only.

Brian Sweeneyreply
August 28, 2019 at 4:42 pm

Surely everyone who follows politics or current affairs knows IPSO is merely a rehacked version or the old discredited system so well exposed by the Leveson enquiry, Part Two will never be implemented by a Tory government in bed with most of the influential Fleet Street editors, they cry ‘freedom of the press’ whenever approached on this subject, but what really mean is ‘Freedom for any of us to misrepresent , misquote or take out of context anything that it suits the papers owners or editors agenda’ with little chance of being able to reply in equal column space. Roll on Leveson part two, although we will have to wait for a Labour of government to achieve this.

Sadiq Mohamedreply
August 28, 2019 at 4:43 pm

The majority of the UK press ownership is Rich White Men, with a bias towards conservatism. This distorts the way the news is being presented, and has led to a cosy alliance with the worst sorts of politician. As a result we have Brexit and Boris as PM. If the guardians of press integrity are also biased against the public and led by a politician this smacks of despotism, dictatorship and a disregard for democracy. It must not stand.

Jennifer Keohanereply
August 28, 2019 at 5:04 pm

I don’t have anything to add.

Greta Garnerreply
August 28, 2019 at 5:29 pm

Our Press should be honest and free from political control.

August 28, 2019 at 6:34 pm

This is surely one of the blackest periods in British political history. Central to the nightmare has been the performance of much of the Fourth Estate – in particular the right-wing tabloids. How one persuades owners & editors who have played a major part in promoting the Brexit argument – & the rest – to change their tune, baffles imagination.
If we thought prayer would help – we might try that !

John Bakerreply
August 28, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Johnson seems to have caught the Parliamentary opposition to ‘no deal’ group – formed yesterday – on the back foot; surely this move was entirely predictable and should have been a significant element of the discussions?

Auriol Stephensonreply
August 29, 2019 at 6:03 am

Just like everything else in our bogus democracy; rotten, rotten, rotten.

john cleesereply
August 29, 2019 at 7:28 am

One of the main causes of the present chaos is the Conservatives’ deal with the right-wing press, when they killed Leveson 2 in exchange for the unquestioning support of those papers

D Murphyreply
August 29, 2019 at 7:40 am

I believe that Levenson should be implemented in full, but for this to happen a change of Government is required

Katerina Porterreply
August 29, 2019 at 10:14 am

My Father was a journalist, A T Cholerton Daily Telegraph i Moscow .
This appointment is part of a slide down from the conventions which upheld our values.

Katerina Porterreply
August 29, 2019 at 10:19 am

My Father was a journalist, A T Cholerton Daily Telegraph Moscow
This appointment is part of a slide down from some of the conventions that upheld values.

Andrew Tinsonreply
August 29, 2019 at 12:05 pm

I am so pleased that Hacked Off continues to campaign on these issue particularly when our democracy is under attack from an extremely right-wing government. Clearly illegal money is being used to corrupt our democratic processes and that includes the weak regulation of our rabidly nasty press.

William Evansreply
August 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

I am 75 years old I believe these are the worst times politically socially and it frightens me

August 30, 2019 at 2:42 pm

How on earth can any of us have any confidence whatsoever in our newspapers? What we are most in need of is a rational and unbiased press, which prints truthful and honest facts. The public have lost faith in their politicians and respect for most of them.The press should be our last bastion against corrupt and self seeking beings & organisations. They like most politicians will be held in contempt and denied respect until they act with honesty and integrity.

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