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Media corrections

When we notice misinformation about the Press Recognition Panel (PRP) and recognition system, we seek to correct it. We will note the misinformation and the correct information on this page.  We have also published some myths and facts about the PRP.

Misinformation and corrections

On 24 May 2018, the Chair wrote to Fiona Onasanya MP to clarify how Parliament intended section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act to operate, in response to an article that she wrote in Peterborough Telegraph.

On 9 May 2018, HuffPost published an article which did not fully explain a proposed amendment to the Data Protection Bill.  The article stated: “One move, proposed by deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, would compel newspapers to pay legal bills even in cases that they win against complainants.” The PRP wrote to HuffPost to clarify that under the clause that was being proposed, which mirrored Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, newspapers would not be compelled to pay legal bills in cases that they win. Under the legislation, newspapers and other relevant publishers would have the option of joining or forming a regulator that has been independently assessed by the PRP as being independent, properly funded, and able to protect the public. Publishers who did this would be protected from legal costs because they would be offering the public more affordable access to justice (through arbitration) in cases where they have been wronged. This is in line with the system of press regulation that was agreed by Parliament following the Leveson Inquiry.

On 8 May 2018, the Guardian published an article which did not ully explain a proposed amendment to the Data Protection Bill.  The article stated: “Under their [Tom Watson and Liam Byrne] proposal, publishers who had not signed up to Impress would be forced to pay the legal costs of claimants who brought legal proceedings against a news outlet, even if the publisher won the case.” The PRP wrote to the Guardian to clarify that under the amendment that was being proposed, which mirrored Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, joining IMPRESS was not the only option. Publishers who had not signed up to IMPRESS could choose to form their own regulator, and then apply to the PRP to be recognised as being independent, properly funded, and able to protect the public. Publishers who did this would be protected from legal costs because they would be offering the public more affordable access to justice (through arbitration) in cases where they have been wronged. This is in line with the system of press regulation that was agreed by Parliament following the Leveson Inquiry.

On 2 November 2017, The Times published a news article with misinformation related to the PRP and role of the Data Protection Bill, which was progressing through the House of Lords, in relation to press regulation. We wrote to the Times to explain that IMPRESS was approved by the PRP, the independent body set up following the Leveson Inquiry to oversee press regulation, and that the PRP is independent of the Government, politicians, and the press. We explained that new system of regulation is entirely voluntary. Publishers who wish to sign up to it can choose to form their own regulator, and then apply to the PRP to be recognised as being independent, properly funded, and able to protect the public. We also added that the new system of press regulation received all-party support when it was devised, and it was designed to protect the public as well as promote a free press. We explained that omitting the recognition system from the Data Protection Bill would undermine the will of Parliament, and mean that ordinary people continue to be denied access to justice when they are wronged by the press.

On 13 June 2017, The Scotsman published a news article which incorrectly stated that section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act threatens punitive cost sanctions against news publishers who are not members of a government-recognised regulator. We wrote to the publication to clarify that it is the PRP’s role to recognise regulators, and that the government has absolutely no role in recognising regulators. We explained that the PRP is completely independent from government, politicians, the press, or any other such interest.

On 18 May 2017, The Spectator published a blog that suggested the only way for a publisher to take advantage of the protections afforded by section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act would be to join IMPRESS. The PRP has written to the Spectator to clarify that this is not the case. If section 40 was commenced, the press would not be forced to join IMPRESS. Instead, publishers could choose to form their own regulator that is fully compliant with Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations. There can be more than one Leveson-compliant regulator.

On 24 February 2017, The Sun published an article stating, “The Union [the NUJ] supported yesterday’s parliamentary recommendations on proposed Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which if implemented would see the press forced to sign up to state-backed regulator Impress, bankrolled by tycoon Max Mosley.” The PRP has written to The Sun to explain that this is not the case. If section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act is commenced, the press would not be forced to join IMPRESS.  If it wishes to take advantage of the section 40 protections, the press could choose to form its own regulator that is compliant with Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations. There can be more than one Leveson-compliant regulator, in addition to IMPRESS.

On 9 February 2017, Susie Uppal, CEO of the PRP, wrote to Matt Tee, CEO of IPSO, to correct misinformation that Sir Alan Moses, Chair of IPSO, has stated about the PRP during a recent radio interview. On 13 February 2017, Matt Tee responded.

On 6 January 2017, The Times published an article in which it claimed IMPRESS is ‘The one regulator the government has so far approved…’ We have written to The Times to explain that IMPRESS has been recognised by the PRP and that the PRP is entirely independent from government.