Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Appointed to the board of UK's new press regulator

I have been appointed to the board of the Independent Press Standards Organisation - the new press regulator that has been set up following the Leveson inquiry.

I am honoured, if a little daunted, to be appointed at such a crucially important time for the future of press regulation.

In a press release today, the chair of the independent panel set up to find the first board for IPSO, Sir Hayden Phillips, said: "I am confident the new Directors have the stature and experience to bring into being a tough and independent regulator that will stand the test of time."

The majority of the new 12-strong board are people independent of the newspaper industry, with the other five having knowledge of different sectors of the press.  

According to the press release: "The Board includes people from business, diplomacy, consumer rights, the pensions sector, academia, the voluntary sector and the publishing and newspaper industries. 

"Experience is drawn from across the United Kingdom."

Obviously, my main experience is within the regional press.

Sir Alan Moses, the chair of IPSO, said: “I am delighted to have the chance to work with such a talented group of independent-minded people, committed to provide rigorous and strong  regulation. 

"Now we must start our work of preparation. We plan to use the coming period to listen and engage with the public, experts and the industry before IPSO’s formal launch in September. 

"This will be a new era of self regulation of our newspapers, ready to provide the independent regulation to which the public is entitled.”

Sir Alan, an Appeal Court judge, was appointed to the post of chair of IPSO last month.  At the time, he said there was a difficult balance to be struck between protecting the public and defending a free and fearless press.

"The public and the press are entitled to a successful system of independent regulation. I recognise it is a big responsibility to achieve this. 

"I believe that such a system should be designed to protect the public against a repetition of the  breakdown in standards in some parts of the newspaper industry in recent times.  

"At the same time it should affirm and encourage the vital role of a free and fearless press. 

"I shall do my best to guide the development of  clear, simple but fair rules in an area where there are difficult questions and there are no easy answers.  

"But I am determined that there should be no hesitation in dealing with bad practice by newspapers and providing support and vindication for those who suffer as a result of any future  breakdown.  

"This new organisation will have to listen to and learn from  the Press and their critics in the period ahead.   

"To those who have voiced doubts as to the ability of IPSO to meet the demands of independent regulation, I say that I have spent over forty years pursuing the profession of barrister and judge whose hallmarks are independent action and independent judgment. I do not intend to do away with that independence now."

Those who know me, will know that I share Sir Alan's views on independence.  I have written about it before here on this blog and one of the main reasons I left my previous role as editor was because I believed my independence was being undermined.  Like Sir Alan, I have no intention of doing away with that independence now.

You can see IPSO's press release here, including short biographies of all 12 members of the board.

You can also see the response of HackedOff to the announcement here.