The Independent today reports that a group of MPs have written to the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, setting out reasons for rejecting the PressBoF Charter on press regulation.
The press industry led by newspaper groups – Associated Newspapers, Express Newspapers, Trinity Mirror, News international and Telegraph Media Group. - have devised a rival Charter undermining many of the recommendations proposed by Lord Justice Leveson on conclusion of the Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press. The PressBoF Charter, as we’ve previously noted, ignores some fundamental changes envisaged by Lord Leveson, namely, a refusal to entertain a robust third party complaints clause, viable independence of the press regulator, wider consultation on the Code of Practice, and omission on the power of the regulator to ‘direct’ apologies – effectively meaning the press can continue to evade ‘due prominence’ in publishing corrections and apologies.
The Independent notes that six members of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee have written to the Privy Council in protest of the industry’s proposal of a rival charter after a ‘Leveson-compliant’ Royal Charter was agreed in cross-party talks in March.
The MPs said the Royal Charter provided “a better prospect for effective self-regulation which is both independent of the Press and of Government”.
Paul Farrelly MP, member of the CMS select committee and signatory to the letter said, “At the end of the day, Pressbof, which is dominated by the big national newspapers, funded and oversaw a regime that failed because it was far too much controlled by the industry itself. This rival charter is a last ditch attempt to repeat the mistakes of the past and should be resisted, in the interests of effective, independent regulation and decent press standards.”
Other parliamentarians who have spoken in favour of stronger regulation of the press include the 42 MPs and two peers who signed an open letter to The Guardian calling on the Government to seize the “once in a generation” opportunity to put things right.