|From PRP homepage.|
Press regulation’s tortured history since the Leveson report has reached a new phase with the launch of a consultation process by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP).
Readers who have forgotten that the royal charter remains in force, despite the formation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), may need a reminder here: the PRP, which came into being in November 2014, is the body that will decide whether press regulators meet the recognition criteria recommended in the Leveson report.
Ipso, which was set up by some of Britain’s leading newspaper and magazine publishers, has let it be known that it will not seek recognition. But the PRP is forging ahead, as required by the charter. There are major groups that have not signed up to Ipso - including the Guardian, Financial Times and the Independent titles - plus a plethora of smaller publishers.
And it emerged at the first of several public consultation sessions, staged at the London School of Economics on Tuesday evening, that a nascent alternative press regulator, Impress, is likely to sign up several of those small publishers.
It appears that under the terms of the crime and courts act many hyperlocal outfits would be deemed as “relevant publishers”. So the PRP’s chair, David Wolfe QC, believes they would benefit from joining a recognised regulator in order to protect them from the imposition by courts of exemplary damages and legal costs.
To gain charter recognition, a regulator will need to fulfil all 28 criteria and Wolfe explained that his body is currently engaged in trying to define some of those criteria that “lack clarity”.