Publishers' legal challenge to Royal Charter on press regulation rejected by judge

Newspaper publishers have been refused permission to appeal against the High Court's rejection of their bid to block the cross-party Royal Charter intended to established a new regulatory system for the press.

The Press Standards Board of Finance – PressBof – had sought permission to appeal against the decision to reject their application for Judicial Review of what they argued was the Privy Council's "unfair, irrational and unlawful" decision to reject the newspaper industry's own proposals for a rival charter.

During the hearing Lord Justice Richards, sitting with Mr Justice Sales, had said the merits of the PressBof legal case were "at best weak".

Today it emerged that PressBof's application to appeal, and for permission to rely on fresh evidence, had been rejected  by a judge.

PressBof could apply for an oral hearing at which to renew its applications.

The majority of the newspaper and magazine industry has rejected any regulator overseen by the Royal Charter, saying that the Charter leaves the door open to future political interference.

Proposals for the Charter emerged after a late-night meeting political leaders and representatives of press pressure group Hacked Off from which industry representatives were excluded.

Most publishers have rejected the Charter and instead sgned up to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, a new system of self regulation which does not conform to the cross-party Royal Charter. Members of IPSO will be subject to the threat of punitive damages in libel and privacy actions because their regulator does not have official approval from a Royal Charter-approved recognition panel.

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