The Royal Charter: 5 benefits for journalists

1. The new system will be independent of the club of proprietors and editors who let journalism down. PressBoF (the Press Standards Board of Finance) runs the PCC. Their job was to uphold standards but they failed to respond to a succession of major scandals and the result was a collapse in public trust. Charter takes away PressBoF’s influence and makes the regulation system independent.

2. The new system will be free from political control – more than the PCC ever was. The Royal Charter goes to great lengths to ensure there can be no political interference – but IPSO would give politicians a role at every level. Charter delivers what journalists rightly demand: self-regulation free from political influence.

3.  Journalists will be less vulnerable to chilling by legal threats, and better able to defend their work. Because of the very high cost of defending legal actions in English courts, journalists have long been vulnerable to chilling threats by wealthy or litigious people and organisations. Editors and executives would sometimes decide to correct and apologise, or not publish at all, even when they felt a story was entirely legitimate, rather than risk a long, bruising court battle.

4. Under the Royal Charter, the self-regulator will offer a cheap, quick arbitration service for libel and privacy cases. Claimants will be obliged to use this service or, if they insist on going to court, will not be able to recover their costs from the newspapers, even if they win. Since the costs in arbitration will be lower than in court cases, the pressure on news publishers to cave in early to avoid financial risk will be correspondingly reduced. And journalists will have a far better chance of being able to defend their reporting on its merits than they do now.

5. This is a golden opportunity to rebuild public trust in journalism. The Charter is a chance to show the public that the majority of journalists, who genuinely care about ethical standards, will no longer tolerate the reckless minority who don’t.Benefits for journalists

1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

January 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Perhaps you are going in the wrong direction entirely. This takes away control from an elitist club and gives it to an even more elitist and smaller club. Democratisation not Royalisation of the media, please. You’ll find the press easy to fight. Me you cannot beat. No matter who you think you are.

NB, from ages ago:

Aggressive press intrusion needs policing.

The Hacked Off group writes “we hope the press will see the sense in participating fully in a system that will give them a chance to rebuild trust in newspaper journalism” and clearly believes it speaks for the nation.

There does not appear to be the sort of lack of trust which Hacked Off clearly is itself experiencing along with others, who may well be in a minority.

The UK press is suspected of being cowardly and working for the government. Its aggressive methods are seen as egregious. It is not seen the way Hacked Off seems to see it, in the main.

Perhaps both Hacked Off and Private Eye would agree that egregiously aggressive press intrusion (even when it is only a minority within the whole group which does it) demands forceful policing on behalf of would-be future victims of this criminal aggression.


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