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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

‘Inappropriate’ PRP intervention in Section 40 row

Press release
Release date: 10 January 2017

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned the Press Recognition Panel for its ‘inappropriate intervention’ in the government’s consultation on whether to implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.Section 40 is regarded as ‘a stick’ to force the UK’s news publishers to sign up to state approved regulator ‘IMPRESS’.

Institute President Mark Croucher says the PRP ‘has a conflict of interest in supporting legislation that blackmails Britain’s news publishers into kow-towing to a regulator they want to have nothing to do with.’

He added: ‘If not one significant news publisher signs up to IMPRESS, there is no point in the PRP that approved it continuing to receive tax-payers’ funding.’

Mr Croucher branded as ‘ludicrous and nonsense’ the PRP’s claims that Section 40 would:

  • Protect ordinary people, not just the rich;
  • Protect the press from the chilling effect of large legal costs; and
  • Remove political influence on press regulation.

He said all the evidence and more than 99% of the UK’s journalism industry believe Section 40 would instead:

  • Annihilate the country’s free press leaving the people at the mercy of the rich and powerful;
  • Devastate news publishers with crippling legal costs and chilling effect of self censorship;
  • Politically neuter and silence the news that the rich and powerful do not want published.

He added: ‘The problem with the PRP and IMPRESS is that both bodies are compromised by the influence of a self-styled media victim lobby that wants revenge for the bad things only very few journalists have done.’

He said: ‘Most UK magazines, local and national newspapers are innocent of phone hacking, bribery or corruption but all are being made to suffer because of a scandal caused largely by the impossible demands and toxic culture of a few bullying publishers.’