Hacked Off wishes IPSO an unhappy birthday with protest outside HQ

Around 60 protestors gathered outside the Independent Press Standards Organisation's offices today in a protest organised by campaign group Hacked Off.

Press Gazette asked several protestors why they were there and what they thought of IPSO as the press regulator marked its first birthday.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, chair of Hacked Off:

''IPSO was set up in defiance of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry.

"It’s not independent or effective and it is not a proper regulator.

"The public need a body which will actually take action effective action against press abuses.''

Emily Brothers, transgender Labour politician who had an IPSO complaint upheld against Rod Liddle in The Sun in May

"I’m here because I believe in independent press regulation and my experience demonstrates that it doesn’t exist at the moment in terms of a body that meets the conditions that Leveson set out.''

Brothers believes that IPSO did not deal properly with her case. ''They failed to acknowledge and deal with the follow-up victimisation which threatened to reveal my previous name and more.

''I think one of the key things for me is not the impact on me personally, I’m a politician, I need to take the hits from the media.

"But many other people, people with gender identity issues, they and their families were very upset by Rod Liddle’s comments and the way The Sun dealt with the issue.

"I felt it was important to represent their interests and to say enough is enough, we need decent standards from the press.''

Hacked Off joint executive director Daisy Cooper:

''One year ago Hacked Off said IPSO was a sham and one year on we have all the evidence to prove it.

"We are inundated day-in day-out with people who are rubbished in the press who have facts written about them which are untrue or distorted they’ve made complaints to IPSO, sometimes they get complaint fatigue, sometimes they’re too scared to complain because IPSO shares their details with the newspapers that have written those articles about them and sometimes they are victimised further because they’ve made a complaint."

Dr Evan Harris, joint executive director of Hacked Off:

''We’re the only campaign that’s legitimate and popular that does not get covered by the press.

'"Editors and proprietors have a vested interest in not being accountable in any way, even to an independent self-regulator, so they won’t cover a demonstration like this."

On the lack of difference between the old Press Complaints Commission and IPSO, Harris added: ''The PCC knew it was an industry puppet, IPSO tries to pretend that it isn’t. It has more powers at the margins than the PCC but it chooses not to use them.

''In that sense they are worse than the PCC because A) they have the power and they are choosing not to use it and B) they claim that they are using it when they are not. It’s a fact, a simple fact. Black and white, there has not been a correction on the front page in the last year. It’s also a fact that IPSO claim that they have this power and are using it. Well, if they put that in a newspaper they would be in breach of clause one on accuracy themselves.''

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell:

“I am really proud to support this protest today, to get this in the public domain.

“This is a campaign for a fair and accountable press. It is a fundamental ingredient of a democracy. IPSO is not fulfilling what Leveson required.”

Irene Ridgeon, a former administrator for exam board AQA:

“We’re not against the press but it needs to be accountable.

“They need to be called to account. They have got to see they have this responsibility.”

Asked for his response, IPSO director of external affairs Niall Duffy said: "IPSO was pleased to be able to mark its first anniversary with the release of public opinion polling that shows strong support for the way it goes about its work.

“Along with statistics that highlighted the number of complaints taken forward, upheld or resolved, we are quietly and effectively getting on with our work.

"While we disagree with Hacked Off’s view of our work and of independent regulation, we take very seriously what they have to say."

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