Rival press regulator IMPRESS announces appointments panel ahead of planned launch by the end of the year

Rival press regulator today IMPRESS today announced the members of the appointments panel which will pick its board.

The move comes as the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the new regulator backed by most major publishers, prepares for launch on 8 September.

IMPRESS claims to have funding of £200,000 which includes a substantial donation from the author JK Rowling.

It claims it will be completely independent from both the journalism industry and the Government and that it will fully implement the recommendations of the Leveson report.

It hopes to be up and running by the end of the year and Press Gazette understands that approaching 20 publishers have agreed to be involved (athough no official announcement has been made).

According to IMPRESS founder Jonathan Heawood, it will be up to the first board of IMPRESS (rather than its members) to decide whether or not the body will apply for official recognition under the Royal Charter process. This would insulate members from the threat of punitive damages in libel and privacy actions.

He said the new regulator should be up and running by the end of the year.

If IMPRESS does gain official recognition this would also have the effect of triggering the clause in the Crime and Courts Act which means that all publishers who are not part of Royal Charter-recognised regulator may have to pay costs for both sides, even if they win a libel case. This clause only comes into force once there is a Royal Charter-recognised regulator available.

Heawood said: “I’m pleased to welcome the new members of the Appointment Panel. In keeping with Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, they have been transparently and openly selected.

“With their broad range of backgrounds, they will bring great expertise and insight to the process of appointing an independent and high-calibre Board to IMPRESS.”

IMPRESS has already set up an arbitration service for publishers working with the Institute of Arbitrators. It charges libel and privacy claimants a fee of £75 and then asks that publishers carry the other costs.

The IMPRESS appointment panel (source IMPRESS): 

Ashok Gupta chairs AA Insurance Services and eValue Investment Solutions and has chaired Skandia UK. He was a Founder Director of the Phoenix Group, and a non-executive director of Old Mutual Wealth and J Rothschild Assurance plc (now St James’s Place Capital). He was Deputy Chair of a recent Bank of England Working Party on Procyclicality resulting from life insurance and pension fund activity.
  
Richard Gurner has been a journalist since 2004 and has spent his career in the local and regional press, including a short stint in PR. In 2009 he launched the hyperlocal website CaerphillyObserver.co.uk after becoming frustrated at the lack of news provision in his home area. In 2011 he quit his job and took on the website full-time. In May 2013 the print edition of Caerphilly Observer was launched as a full-colour fortnightly newspaper.
  
Caroline Instance MCIPD (deputy chair), after 18 years in human resources, was appointed in 1996 Chief Executive of Opra to set up the UK’s first statutory regulator for pensions. From 2002 to 2011 she was CEO of the two UK professional bodies for actuaries. She facilitated improvement to their self-regulatory mechanisms and assisted in the merger of the bodies and development of a new Privy Council Charter. She is currently a trustee of ShareAction.
  
Chris Kenny is chief executive of the Legal Services Board, the overarching independent regulator of the legal sector. He previously held senior posts in central government, regulation and the private sector, and was for six years a member of the Board of Ombudsman Services. He undertook a major review of the Financial Ombudsman Service with Lord Hunt of Wirral in 2007-08.
  
Tom Murdoch is a lawyer at leading charity law firm Stone King LLP.  His recent work includes the registration of Wikimedia UK as a charity and contribution to debate around the potential charitable recognition of public benefit journalism. Outside work, Tom is a trustee of Zambia Orphans of AIDS.
  
Penny Shepherd MBE is an independent consultant specialising in corporate responsibility and sustainability. She is a member of the Regulation Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and a trustee of Local Trust, a community development charity. Until 2013, she was Chief Executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association.
  
Damian Tambini is an associate professor at the London School of Economics. From 2002 to 2006 he was Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at Oxford University. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on media and telecommunications policy, co-author of Codifying Cyberspace: Self-regulation of Converging Media (2008) andco-editor of Cyberdemocracy (1998) and Citizenship, Markets, and the State (2000).
  
Salil Tripathi is Director of Emerging Issues at the Institute for Human Rights and Business. He has worked at Amnesty International and International Alert in London and for a range of newspapers, magazines and journals in Hong Kong, Bombay and Singapore. He is a contributing editor at Mint, India’s second-largest business newspaper, and has published a non-fiction book on free speech in India, Offence: The Hindu Case.
  
Aidan White (chair) is Director of the Ethical Journalism Network. He has previously worked as a journalist for newspapers including the Guardian and the Birmingham Post and Mail. He served as General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists for 24 years. In that time, he helped create the world’s largest organisation of journalists, with members in 126 countries. He is also Chair of Internews and a trustee of Statewatch.
 

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