The Sun and Sunday Times highlighted Max Mosley’s youthful far-right leanings as a final flurry of leader columns made the case against enacting Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act.
The Government consultation on whether to enact Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act concludes at 5pm tomorrow. If the law (which was passed by Parliament in 2013) is enforced it will mean news publishers who are not signed up to a Royal Charter-backed regulator will pay both sides costs in libel and privacy actions win or lose.
- February 24, 2017
- February 23, 2017
- January 17, 2017
The only Royal Charter-backed regulator currently available is Impress which is currently nearly entirely funded by Max Mosley’s family charity.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Sarah Baxter said: “I simply fail to see how a free society could possibly hand oversight of the press to a body whose very existence depends on the son of a fascist, Oswald Mosley. (The son of two fascists, if you count Max’s mother, Diana Mitford.)
“It’s considered impolite to mention this because the sins of the father should never be visited on the son, etc. Up to a point, Lord Copper. If, like the young Mosley, you have openly spoken of your admiration for your father, the black-shirted leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, and share at least some of his dislike of the press, then I think it is entirely appropriate to raise the matter.”
Kelvin MacKenzie writing in The Sun today highlights an apparently racist letter about immigration sent by a 22-year-old Max Mosley to The Times in 1962.
Both The Sun and Daily Mail, the UK’s best-selling national newspapers, today published further leader columns condemning Section 40 as well as forms enabling their readers to respond to the consultation.
Publishers have also given widespread publicity to the FreethePress website, which also provides a templated consultation response.
Set against this is Hacked Off, which says it is has persuaded more than 5,000 fill out its form urging the implentation of Section 40 in full.
Regional newspapers publishing new comment pieces against Section 40 include: The Craven Herald in Yorkshire, the Press and Journal in Aberdeen, The Western Mail in Cardiff, The Journal in Newcastle and the Bolton News.
In a full-page editorial, the Daily Mail said: “Remember the Thalidomide scandal, the MPs’ expenses racket, the Rotherham sex-grooming cover-up and the monumental police failures over the murder of Stephen Lawrence? All these iniquities, and countless more, were brought to light by the Press.
“Yes, Britain’s buccaneering newspapers are often scurrilous and provocative. They are sometimes hurtful and, like everyone else, they make mistakes.
“But it is impossible to exaggerate the role played by Britain’s 300-year tradition of Press freedom in keeping our country comparatively free from the rank corruption that plagues less fortunate peoples overseas.
“It is thanks in huge measure to the vigilance of our unshackled newspapers that, in general, British officials and judges do not take bribes and even our least honest politicians are mere petty criminals beside the grand larcenists in power elsewhere in the world…
“The extraordinary fact is that, so far, the only regulator approved by a Government-endorsed panel of the Great and Good is an outfit called Impress, which is financed almost entirely by a sleazy millionaire with a grudge against the Press.
“The £3.8 million paymaster in question is former F1 tycoon Max Mosley son of Sir Oswald, who led the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s.”
The Sun said: “If you’re still undecided on the issue of Press freedom, take a closer look at those lining up for and against.
“On one side there’s the state-backed regulator Impress, bankrolled by odious tycoon Max Mosley, and supported by a host of similarly vindictive celebs with a pathological hatred of the popular Press.
“On the other is not only every national publication, but almost every local newspaper in the country, and the vast majority of journalists — including icons of investigative reporting such as Andrew Norfolk, who exposed the Rotherham child abuse scandal.
“And alongside them, several respected organisations and charities — including Index on Censorship, who remarked that if a law such as Section 40 had been introduced elsewhere, British MPs would be among the first to protest such awful suppression of free speech.
“If, as those blinded by their loathing of papers often claim, press regulation is simply a means of ‘reining in’ tabloids, would all these voices — broadsheet, local and charity — be so deeply opposed to it? Or perhaps it’s because they understand the issues at stake, and the importance to all Brits of preserving 300 years of press freedom.”
Making the case in favour of enacting Section 40 in full, Hacked Off executive director Evan Harris said: “Section 40 was recommended by Leveson and enacted by Parliament with cross-party support. No provision in recent history would do more to enhance freedom of expression for newspapers than section 40, which for the first time, would protect newspapers from ever having to pay the costs of litigious bullies bringing claims against them.
“All they need to do is sign up to an effective regulator independent of the industry which offers a low-cost arbitral alternative to the High Court to settle claims. This would protect the public too, as guaranteed arbitration would provide the public with access to justice against wealthy and powerful publishers.
“That’s why organisations such as the National Union of Journalists and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, as well as the victims of press abuse, support section 40.
“Leveson two must be the only public inquiry into police and corporate corruption in history which the press is attempting to suppress. The second phase of Leveson, which was established to examine the cover-up of illegality at national newspapers, and alleged complicity of the police and politicians, is vital to getting to the truth.”
When Press Gazette contacted the NUJ on Friday it said it had yet to finalise its response to Section 40.
Mosley said: “If a newspaper insists on the luxury of a High Court hearing then they pay both sides, but if they go to the thing that’s the whole point of Section 40, which is the inexpensive arbitration between them and the claimant, then it costs nobody anything, and of course that’s hugely beneficial to small newspapers, local newspapers, because if somebody rich takes them on it’s very intimidating, whereas if they can say to the rich person, ‘if you have got the money to sue us that’s fine, but we insist on going to inexpensive arbitration’.
”If the rich individual refuses then he pays the costs of both sides. It seems to me eminently fair.”