NMA issues 45-page document outlining its case against regulator, arguing that it relies for its funding on just one wealthy donor, Max Mosley
Newspaper publishers regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) are objecting to the alternative regulator, Impress, gaining official recognition.
The News Media Association (NMA), the trade body representing the publishers of national, regional and local newspapers, has issued a 45-page response to the Press Recognition Panel’s call for information about Impress.
The NMA contends that Impress fails to meet most of the key recognition criteria set down in the royal charter on press regulation.
Publishers say Impress is unrepresentative of the press as a whole, relies for its funding on a single wealthy donor, Max Mosley, and has no editorial code of standards.
According to the NMA, Impress “cannot be described as independent, credible or effective” and that, in such circumstances, “it would be irrational for the PRP to recognise Impress as a regulator.
The NMA’s major concern is that, should Impress be recognised, then publishers, whether signed up to Ipso or outside any form of regulation, would be subject to a system of legal penalties.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the NMA stated that the Leveson report made it clear that a self-regulatory system “would not be credible unless it attracted major publishers and the widest possible cross-section of the news media.”
Impress, it pointed out, “covers no significant publishers, only a handful of hyperlocal publishers who may not even be relevant publishers as defined by the royal charter.”
5.10pm update: Impress’s chief executive, Jonathan Heawood, issued the following statement:
“We know that Impress represents change – the kind of change which editors, journalists and members of the public have consistently called for. But there are some powerful figures in the news industry who resist, or even fear, change.
“They are accustomed to having the final word on press regulation, and we are not surprised that they have made their views known via the PRP call for information.
“Just how much they fear change and challenge is demonstrated by the huge effort and concerted energy they have devoted to attempting to prevent our small organisation emerging to compete.
Nonetheless, we look forward to engaging fully with the detailed points they have made.”
A longer statement is due to go up later on Impress’s website.
*The Guardian, the Independent, London Evening Standard and Financial Times have not signed up to any regulator.