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Poll shows the British public back an industry-funded newspaper regulator

PUBLISHED: 16:07 04 January 2017 | UPDATED: 21:17 04 January 2017

General view of newspapers on sale. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

General view of newspapers on sale. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The British public wants to see press regulation funded by the newspaper industry, a survey by YouGov has revealed, as the government consults on whether to proceed with part two of the Leveson Inquiry.

Part one of the inquiry, held throughout 2011 and 2012, examined the culture and ethics of the press, and resulted in the creation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) – a self-funded regulator to hold the industry to account.

But as well as consulting on whether to continue with part two – which would examine alleged wrongdoing in the press and police – ministers are also looking at whether to implement controversial plans in Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. This measure would see newspapers which are not signed up to Impress – an officially-recognised regulator – pay their own and the plaintiff’s legal costs, even if they were successful in court.

Impress has received formal approval from the Press Recognition Panel, which was set up in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

It is funded partly by Max Mosley, the former motor racing boss, who was a victim of a newspaper sting involving images of him at a sex party.

But most newspapers have signed up to IPSO and would therefore be faced with paying plaintiffs’ costs under the Section 40.

In a poll released yesterday, some 49pc of people polled backed a self-funded model like that used by IPSO.

But just 4pc of 1,632 people polled on behalf of the News Media Association (NMA) favoured the alternative model favoured by Impress. Another 25pc thought the government should fund such a scheme.

Lynne Anderson, NMA deputy chief executive, said: “This survey demonstrates conclusively that a regulatory regime led by Impress – which is completely reliant upon funding from one wealthy individual, Max Mosley – cannot command the confidence of the public. IPSO is funded in its entirety by its member national, regional and local newspaper publishers which is the funding model the public want and expect from an industry which is committed to robust self-regulation.

“It is also abundantly clear from the poll that there is absolutely no public appetite for further activity from the government in this area – such as the reopening of the Leveson Inquiry – when there are other much more pressing priorities at hand.”

The poll also found the public overwhelmingly believed the government should be focusing its attention and resources on areas other than press regulation which came bottom of a list of 16 issues the government should focus on over the next few years.

The poll found that just 1pc of respondents thought press regulation should be among the top four priorities.

These were Brexit (53pc), health (48pc), immigration and asylum (45pc) and the economy (44pc).

■If you care about the future of an independent local media we urge you to have your say online here, or you can email your thoughts to presspolicy@culture.gov.uk. You can also write to the consultation at Press Policy, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 4th floor, 100 Parliament St, London, SW1A 2BQ.

You can also show your support for the in trying to stop the introduction of this unjust legislation by writing to your local MP and explaining why your local newspaper matters to you. It will only take a few minutes and your views could play a crucial part in defending newspapers from those who would bring down the curtain on centuries of a free press.

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