Press regulation Royal Charter decision delayed pending consultation on industry plan

 

The Government has delayed making a decision on the press regulation Royal Charter pending further consultation.
 
A press regulation Royal Charter was agreed in a cross-party deal in March and sought to establish an independent press regulator underpinned by statute.
 
But last week it was rejected by the main newspaper and magazine industry trade bodies who backed a rival Royal Charter which was also submitted to the Privy Council for consideration.

The Newspaper Society argued that it went against the Privy Council's own guidelines to approve a Royal Charter to regulate a largely resistant industry when a rival petition had been filed against it.

The industry Charter seeks to retain some control over the regulator for press owners and makes the creation of  an arbitration body for settling libel disputes optional.

It is believed that a Government  decision on the Royal Charter has now been delayed pending the conclusion of a consultation on the industry plan.

The Royal Charters were due to be considered at a meeting of the Privy Council on 15 May. It is believed that the decision has now been put back to June.

The Newspaper Society said in a statement: "We welcome the Government's announcement that consultation on the Independent Royal Charter has begun. We have always said the Independent Royal Charter would be open to consultation and are confident it will receive the widespread public support shown in opinion polls. It already has the backing of the vast majority of the newspaper and magazine industry."

Today is World Press Freedom day and  the World Association of Newspapers issued a statement backing the rival industry Royal Charter: “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.”

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