Press regulator Impress wins case over status
Britain’s officially recognised press regulator, Impress, has fought off a high court challenge over its status.
The News Media Association (NMA), which represents publishers, said the Press Recognition Panel (PRP), which was set up under a royal charter after the Leveson inquiry, should not have given Impress formal approval a year ago.
The NMA said the PRP had misinterpreted and misapplied the charter, but Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Popplewell, sitting in London, yesterday rejected its case.
Walter Merricks, the chairman of Impress, said: “This judgment shows that the system of externally verified self-regulation, recommended by Sir Brian Leveson, is fully functional. We can now get on with the important job of upholding high standards of journalism.”
Impress’s dependence on third-party funding from the former motor sport mogul Max Mosley was one of the reasons why it should not have been recognised, the NMA said.
David Pannick QC argued that, while Impress was dependent on Mosley – “a proponent of strict regulation of the press” – it did not matter where the money came from. What mattered was that it must not come from the funds of those being regulated.
Ben Jaffey QC, for the PRP, said the decision to grant recognition, which the judges refused to quash, was “unimpugnable”.
Most national newspapers have signed up to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), a voluntary independent body not backed by the government. They fear the recognition of Impress could trigger legislation forcing newspapers not signed up to a recognised regulator to pay the costs of libel or privacy actions, even if they win their cases.