The Press Recognition Panel (PRP) has published its latest report on the UK’s system of independent press regulation.
The report states that there is currently one approved press regulator – IMPRESS – and that the recognition system does not currently cover all significant relevant publishers. Some publishers continue to resist joining the recognition system.
The report notes that the boundaries between the press and some social media platforms is dissolving and that there is an ongoing national debate over how to regulate social media platforms.
David Wolfe QC, Chair of the PRP, said:
“Ironically, some news publishers are calling for tougher regulation of the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter despite themselves avoiding independent regulation. A potential consequence of this is that a system of state regulation for social media platforms could subsequently be applied to the press.
“We agree that there are social media sites that act as relevant publishers at least in some of what they do. For those platforms, a system of regulatory oversight exists in the form of the recognition system. All relevant publishers should consider joining an approved regulator or setting up their own, which could apply for recognition.”
The report explains that the recognition system is currently frustrated by political involvement. Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 has not been commenced and this means the public is not protected in the way that was intended.
David Wolfe QC, added:
“It is too soon to consider state regulation of the press. The system of independent regulation that was devised following the Leveson Inquiry must be given a chance to operate first: section 40 should be commenced immediately. Not doing so, supports only the interests of the particular section of the press who oppose it. If the new system was allowed to operate as intended, that would protect the public as well as promote a free and vibrant press. It would also remove political interference from press regulation.”