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.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

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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