Impress is the UK’s only independent press regulator and claims to be the only one compliant with the recommendations of the Leveson Report. As such, the attempt by publications that have reason not to want the existence of an independent, Leveson-compliant regulator to de-certify Impress is unsurprising.
The NMA (News Media Association) represents the largest newspaper publishers in the UK and had asked the High Court to overturn the decision of the PRP (Press Recognition Panel) to recognise Impress as a standards-compliant press regulator.
It didn’t go well.
On Thursday, the court rejected the NMA’s application in its entirety and confirmed that Impress meets the standards required by the Royal Charter of an independent and effective press regulator.
The judge decided that aspects of the NMA’s legal arguments rested on a ‘fallacy’ and said of one important pillar of NMA’s case:
In addition, the NMA had tried to claim that Impress’ recognition was invalid because the organisation wasn’t big enough when registered – in other words ‘it’s not big enough to have recognition because we refuse to join it’. However, the judge dismissed this argument witheringly:
The complete judgment also lists other flaws in the NMA’s legal argument.
Responding to the judgment, IMPRESS Chair Walter Merricks said:
This judgment shows that the system of externally verified self-regulation, recommended by Sir Brian Leveson, is fully functional. We can now get on with the important job of upholding high standards of journalism.
At a time when the news publishing industry is under massive pressure, IMPRESS is uniquely able to reduce publishers’ legal risks and enhance their standing in the eyes of audiences and advertisers.
We are grateful for the ongoing support of the NUJ, Sir Harry Evans and many others in and around the industry, and sorry that the NMA have wasted so much time attacking IMPRESS, which meets the standards that they refuse to meet.
The court ordered the NMA to pay IMPRESS’s costs in preparing and submitting witness statements by Merricks and Jonathan Heawood.
According to Holdthefrontpage.co.uk, the NMA intends to appeal. It is the opinion of the SKWAWKBOX that it would be far better for the UK’s democracy and public trust in the media were publishers to follow the lead of the independent left media by joining IMPRESS instead of trying to undo its existence.
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