Wanted: Proven leader with no journalism connections to regulate the press (£150k)

The Independent Press Standards Organisation today sought applications for the job of chairman of the new regulator.

IPSO is set to be up and running by 1 May. Last week current Press Complaints Commission chairman Lord Hunt revealed that he may run for the job himself – however that would involve taking a pay cut.

The IPSO chair has been advertised with a salary of £150,000, whereas Hunt revealed that he is paid £180,000 for a three-day week.

So far 90 per cent of national newspapers have signed up to be regulated by IPSO as well as most regional newspaper publishers and major magazine publishers. The Independent, Guardian and FT all have concern about IPSO’s independence from the industry and have so far declined to sign up to it.

According to an advert published in The Guardian today by headhunters Saxton Bampfylde: “The Chair will be one of IPSO’s seven Independent Directors, coming from outside the industry. You will be a proven leader with experience of in a complex and high-profile environment…

“…you will be committed to protecting the rights of the public whilst maintaining freedom of expression.”

The advert states that that the chair may not have any connection with the newspaper or magazine publishing industry and they may not be a member of the House of Commons or of the devolved national assemblies. Members of the House of Lords are not excluded.

The deadline for applications is 25 February.

The chair will be appointed by a panel comprising: former civil servant Sir Hayden Phillips, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood (a former Justice of the Supreme Court), Dame Denise Platt (former chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection), Times editor John Witherow and former Manchester Evening News editor Paul Horrocks.

The five-person panel must have unanimous agreement for any appointment to be agreed.

Once the chairman has been appointed, they will then help IPSO appoint six independent directors and five industry directors to its board.

Meanwhile, the Government is in the process of setting up a Rocognition Panel to judge whether or not any future system of press regulation measures up to the cross-party Royal Charter passed last year. IPSO as it stands does not comply with the Royal Charter, but publishers are engaged in a legal challenge to get the Parliament-backed Royal Charter thrown out and their own rival Royal Charter adopted.

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