The Telegraph has attacked Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for IPSO to seek official recognition following his interview in The Spectator.
Cameron told the magazine that “a less enlightened government” might seek to impose statutory regulation on the newspaper industry.
In a strongly worded editorial, the Telegraph quoted Cameron speaking in the House of Commons following the publication of the Leveson Inquiry report.
Cameron said: “I think it would be a dereliction of our duty in the House of Commons, which has stood up for freedom and a free press, year after year, century after century, to cross the Rubicon by legislating on the press without thinking carefully about it carefully first.”
The Telegraph responded: “Many of us in the industry took that as a sign that the Prime Minister wanted to keep statute law well away from the press; but perhaps we focussed too much on the first part of that sentence and not enough on the second.”
The Telegraph said there is consensus within the industry for a tougher regulatory regime.
It said the two-thirds requirement to change the Royal Charter offers very little protection to the newspaper industry, especially if they are covering a politically embarrassing story.
According to the Telegraph: “Does anyone really think that it is a safeguard? Such a majority could be easily imagined if MPs were desperate to shut down a newspaper’s line of inquiry – one such as the expenses scandal investigation, for instance.”
The Telegraph said they consider this issue as “crossing the Rubicon”.
“We just know that once politicians have even the loosest grip on the press, the only change they will countenance in future is to tighten it . . . or do they really want a rope around the newspaper industry’s neck that they can tug whenever they don’t like what some newspapers are up to?”