YouGov poll shows public support for prominent apologies and exemplary damages

A YouGov poll has suggested broad support from the general public for recommendations that publishers be forced to carry prominent apologies and face financial penalties for being outside the new proposed system of press regulation.

But it has also suggests members of the public are ambivalent about whether or not publishers should join the new regulator.

While nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed yesterday are not sure or disagree with the Royal Charter, 81 per cent support its apologies recommendation and 70 per cent think newspapers that don’t sign up should get larger fines in court for libel.

Some 43 per cent of those surveyed think Parliament was right to support the Royal Charter, 27 per cent think it was the wrong decision and 30 per cent didn’t know.

The survey, which questioned 681 adults, also showed that 43 per cent believe all publishers should sign up to the system. A quarter of people think they should not sign up, while 32 per cent didn’t know.

Asked whether a newspaper should print front-page apologies for front-page inaccuracies, 6 per cent disagreed, and 13 per cent didn’t know.

Some 12 per cent opposed the view that newspapers found guilty of libel, which were not in the system, should face larger fines, while 18 per cent didn’t know.

Here is the survey in full:

Q. Parliament has voted to support a new system, governed by a Royal Charter, to regulate newspapers. Newspapers will not be forced to join the new system, but will have some advantages if they do (such as paying smaller damages when they are found guilty of libel). From what you know, do you think the vote to establish the new system is…

The right decision, as it should encourage newspapers to act more responsibly without curbing their ability to expose bad behaviour by the rich and powerful – 43 per cent

The wrong decision, as it is wrong in principle for politicians to have any say in the way newspapers operate and risks curbing free speech – 27 per cent

Not sure – 30 per cent

Q. Do you support or oppose these features of the proposed system of press regulation?

a) When newspapers print inaccurate statements, being told not just to publish correction but where to print them (e.g. so that a major front-page error has to be corrected on a future front page)

Support – 81 per cent

Oppose – 6 per cent

Don't know – 13 per cent

b) Giving courts the power to impose much larger fines on newspapers found guilty of libel, if they have chosen to stay out of the new system of regulation.

Support – 70 per cent

Oppose – 12 per cent

Not sure – 18 per cent

Q. Some publishers of major national newspaper have yet to decide whether to join the new system. How would you feel about a publisher that chose NOT to join the new system?

Approve – they would be standing up for the principle of free speech – 25 per cent

Disapprove – the new system is necessary, and every major publisher should join it – 43 per cent

Not sure – 32 per cent

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