Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

CIoJ challenges impact of proposed Royal Charter

CIoJ challenges impact of proposed Royal Charter


RELEASE DATE: 30 April 2013

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has written to the Privy Council expressing concern that the proposed Royal Charter underpinning press regulation may impinge on its own charter.

The CIoJ’s charter was granted by Queen Victoria in 1890, six years after the organisation was founded (as the National Association of Journalists).

Among the Institute’s aims and objectives set out in the charter are:

  • “The ascertainment of the law and practice relating to all things connected with the journalistic profession and the exercise of supervision over its members when engaged in professional duties;” and
  • “Watching any legislation affecting the discharge by journalists of their professional duties and endeavouring to obtain amendments of the law affecting journalists, their duties or interests.”

CIoJ president Charlie Harris said: “We have legal advice that the charter sent by Parliament to the Privy Council for royal assent could have implications for our own charter and that we have a right to be consulted before any new charter that overlaps with ours is laid before Her Majesty for approval.

“Our general secretary Dominic Cooper has written to the Privy Council pointing out the possible conflict and saying that we would like to discuss the implications.”

The Institute is totally opposed to any state involvement in the enforcement of professional ethics and has warned that however “light touch” the current proposals may be, they set a dangerous precedent, opening the way for a future government to impose much tougher restrictions which would endanger the free press and democracy.

Harris said: “In a free society, a press under state control is a far greater danger than a press out of control.”

The CIoJ says that the alleged malpractices which led to the Leveson Inquiry and the arrest of dozens of journalists are criminal offences, not ethical misdemeanours and that the problem is not a failure of the editorial regulatory system but the failure of the police to enforce the law.