Global journalism bodies back UK press industry Royal Charter on World Press Freedom Day

 

As World Press Freedom Day is marked today –  global journalism organisations have given their backing to the independent Royal Charter on press regulation put forward by the UK newspaper industry.

The Charter has the backing of most national newspaper publishers as well as magazine industry trade body the PPA and regional press trade body the Newspaper Society and is proposed as an alternative to the cross-party Royal Charter proposed by politicians last month. Both documents are expected to go to the Privy Council for consideration on 15 May.

Press industry Royal Charter plans have been condemned by the National Union of Journalists and by campaign group Hacked Off.

The press-backed Charter seeks to give the industry more control over the regulator and rejects an element of the statutory underpinning proposed by Parliament.

The World Association of Newspapers (the global trade body for publishers) said in a statement: “The Leveson inquiry asked many important questions of the British press, to which the industry, not the Government, was always best-placed to answer

“The industry has proposed a sound response to attempts to implement regulation, which would threaten the independence of the British press, and send shockwaves around the world regarding the UK’s commitment to safeguarding press freedom.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists also this week reiterated its opposition to the Government-backed Royal Charter for press regulation.

It said: “The media's shortcomings–which are always present–never justify government intervention. Once government involvement is legitimised, it is easy to increase the pressure, which in turns weakens the media's accountability role.

“This is why the taint of government regulation in the United Kingdom is damaging to global press freedom advocacy, as we maintained in a letter we sent to British Prime Minister David Cameron back on April 2." 

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