Moseley funding is at centre of court battle over new press regulator
JAN COLLEY AND CATHY GORDON
has challenged the decision on the basis the PRP misinterpreted and misapplied the charter.
It wants Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Popplewell to quash the decision and declare that Impress fails to meet the recognition criteria set out in the charter.
In London yesterday, Lord Pannick QC said Impress regulated a tiny proportion of small publishers and depended on funding from a trust financed by Mr Mosley, “a proponent of strict regulation of the press”.
“We say Impress is not an independent self-regulatory body for the purposes of the charter, and that is because it regulates a tiny minority of relevant publishers.”
He added: “The charter requires the funding of the regulator must come from the funds of those who are being regulated.
“That is what self-regulation means.
“There is no dispute this is not the case in relation to Impress. Impress is dependent on thirdparty funding.”
He said it was inconsistent with the operation of a system of regulation which satisfied the basic criteria set out in the charter – “effectiveness... independence... credible powers... reliable funding” – for Impress to rely on funding “from a campaigner who has a personal agenda to impose rigorous regulation of the press to prevent interferences with privacy”.
Mr Mosley has campaigned to strengthen regulation since his 2008 privacy victory against the News of the World after it printed photos of him at a sex party.
Lord Pannick said that, while Impress was dependent on Mr Mosley, it did not matter where the money came from. What mattered was it came from the funds of those being regulated.
Most national newspapers have signed up to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), a voluntary independent body not backed by the Government.
They fear that the recognition of Impress could trigger legislation forcing newspapers to pay the costs of libel or privacy actions against them, even if they win their cases, potentially forcing them out of business.
The industry has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to refuse to implement the legislation, under section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (CCA).
Lord Pannick said Ipso did not intend to apply to be recognised by the PRP and the media regulated by Ipso did not wish to join Impress.
That was because, in their view, it was inconsistent with the freedom of the press for a body such as the PRP to have a role in recognising or approving selfregulatory press bodies, and because of the deficiencies of Impress and the high standards imposed by Ipso.
The hearing is expected to last two days, with a decision reserved to a later date.