Mosley plan would see press fined 10 per cent turnover

Former Formula One boss-turned privacy campaigner Max Mosley has calleed for the creation of a press tribunal with powers to fine a newspaper group up to 10 per cent of turnover.

His suggestion contrasts with the much milder fines regime proposed by newspaper owners' body Pressbof. They have suggested that a new-look Press Complaints Commission should have power to fine publishers up to one per cent off their turnover, to a maximum of £1m, in exceptional circumstances.

Mosley told the Leveson inquiry into journalistic ethics that the tribunal should be underpinned by statute and given power to deal with "privacy, defamation, media harassment and accuracy".

He said that the tribunal would have authority over the printed press, press agencies and the internet and have powers to impose fines, award damages and order corrections.

Mosley was the subject of a News of the World article in March 2008 after it videoed him taking part in a sado-masachistic sex party with five paid domintracies.

He was awarded a record £60,000 in privacy damages at the High Court.

Mosley told the inquiry a number of "major problems" had to be solved relating the current system of rules governing the media.

"First, litigation for breach of privacy or defamation is beyond the means of all but the richest, be they newspapers or individuals. Justice is thus denied to most of the population," he said, in a written statement to the inquiry.

"Second, a section of the British press has for many years repeatedly gone well beyond the bounds of civilised behaviour, routinely breaking the law, ignoring rules devised by the newspaper industry itself and adopting a bullying and dishonest approach to litigation.

"We need to resolve these problems without in any way restricting public interest and serious investigatory journalism – the freedom of the press," he added.

"The proposed solution is to create an entirely new body, the Press Tribunal, to mediate and where necessary enforce the rules, while keeping the existing rule-making body, the PCC, albeit in modified form, as the Press Commission."

Mosley said the proposed tribunal would have the power to:

Fine up to 10 per cent of the publication's group turnover.

Award damages capped at £10,000 but be able to transfer a case to the High Court for the assessment of higher damages.

Order a correction within a fixed time limit, specifying content, location and prominence.

Order a newspaper to publish a correction in other newspapers.

Prevent publication of a story.

Order newspapers or photographers to "desist" and "leave a complainant alone".

He said "in general" there would be "no lawyers" at tribunal hearings and the complainant and the "journalist responsible" would appear in person.

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