IPSO denies 'interest' in Press Recognition Panel: 'There was no reason to engage' in consultation

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has reiterated it will not be applying for official Royal Charter recognition. (Picture: IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses)

Last week, David Wolfe QC, chair of the Press Recognition Panel (PRP), said IPSO was "very interested in what we're doing".

He was speaking before the close last Friday of a PRP consultation on how it should interpret the Leveson criteria set out in the press regulation Royal Charter.

IPSO has responded to Wolfe's claims of its "interest" by saying that it did not take part in the consultation because it saw "no reason to engage in their process".

The PRP was set up under the cross-party Royal Charter. In order to be recognised by the PRP, regulators must be judged by the body to be Leveson-compliant.

IPSO – which counts the majority of the national and regional press in its membership – has made clear it will not be applying for recognition.

But rival regulator IMPRESS – which does not have any members, but has claimed interest from independent local publishers – will be applying. IMPRESS was given a boost this week when it emerged that a new charity – the Independent Press Regulation Trust – pledging to fund a Leveson-compliant regulator has been established

Asked about contact between the PRP and IPSO on the Media Show last week, Wolfe said: "They are very interested in what we're doing – some commentators have suggested almost too interested in what we're doing."

Asked what he meant by that, Wolfe said: "Well, we've had a very friendly conversation with them and they're very keen to know how we're interpreting the criteria, what's required to meet the criteria, how we'll do our assessments.

"Which is an interesting thing for them to be interested in."

But IPSO has now responded by saying: "We can confirm that IPSO did not submit a response to the Press Recognition Panel consultation on proposals for recognition of press self-regulators.

"Given that IPSO has no intention of seeking recognition with the PRP, we concluded that there was no reason to engage in their process”

If a potential press regulator is recognised by the PRP, its members would be protected from paying claimants' legal costs under a clause in the Crime and Courts Act. Wolfe has identified this as one of the main incentives for publishers signing up for a reognised regulator.

Last week, News UK chief executive Mike Darcey wrote to the PRP consultation suggesting that it should not consider applications from regulators with no members. Darcey suggested that as well as being an incentive for publishers to join, the legal costs protection offered by a PRP-approved regulator is also "designed to punish publishers who do not choose to join an approved regulator".

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