High Court re­jects chal­lenge to sta­tus of press reg­u­la­tor

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Ni­cola Har­ley

IM­PRESS, Bri­tain’s of­fi­cial press reg­u­la­tor backed by con­tro­ver­sial sports ty­coon Max Mosley, has won a High Court chal­lenge to con­tinue op­er­at­ing.

News Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion (NMA), rep­re­sent­ing pub­lish­ers, said Im­press should not have been ap­proved by the Press Recog­ni­tion Panel (PRP), set up un­der a royal char­ter after the Leve­son in­quiry into press ethics.

NMA claimed the PRP mis­in­ter­preted and mis­ap­plied the char­ter, ar­gu­ing Im­press’s de­pen­dence on fund­ing from a donor such as Mr Mosley – the ex-for­mula 1 boss who sued the News of the World over its ac­count of an “orgy” with pros­ti­tutes – had left it open to in­flu­ence from anti-press cam­paign­ers.

How­ever, Lady Jus­tice Raf­ferty and Mr Jus­tice Pop­plewell yes­ter­day re­jected the ar­gu­ment. Wal­ter Mer­ricks, chairman of Im­press, said: “This judg­ment shows the sys­tem of ex­ter­nally ver­i­fied self-reg­u­la­tion…is fully func­tional. We can now get on with the job of up­hold­ing high stan­dards of jour­nal­ism. At a time when the news pub­lish­ing in­dus­try is un­der mas­sive pres­sure, Im­press is uniquely able to re­duce pub­lish­ers’ le­gal risks and en­hance their stand­ing in the eyes of au­di­ences and ad­ver­tis­ers.

“We are grate­ful for the on­go­ing sup­port of the NUJ, Sir Harry Evans and many oth­ers in and around the in­dus­try, and are sorry that the NMA have wasted so much time at­tack­ing Im­press, which meets the stan­dards that they refuse to meet.”

Lord Pan­nick QC ar­gued that, while Im­press was de­pen­dent on Mr Mosley, “a pro­po­nent of strict reg­u­la­tion of the press”, it did not mat­ter where the money came from.

Most na­tional news­pa­pers have signed up to the In­de­pen­dent Press Stan­dards Or­gan­i­sa­tion, fear­ing recog­ni­tion of Im­press would mean pay­ing the costs of those who sue them, even if they lose. David Wolfe, chairman of the PRP, said: “The PRP board recog­nised Im­press be­cause it meets the 29 cri­te­ria in the royal char­ter. It’s as sim­ple as that.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.