Some 20 individuals who describe themselves as ‘victims’ of the News of the World or The Sun have issued a direct appeal to those papers’ proprietor Rupert Murdoch.
The group, which includes actor Hugh Grant (pictured above – Reuters) and the McCanns, want Murdoch’s News UK titles to embrace the system of press regulation set out in the cross-party Royal Charter.
- May 17, 2018
- May 15, 2018
- May 15, 2018
Instead News UK has signed up to the Independent Press Standards Organisation – a new self-regulator for the UK press .
The ‘victims’ warn in a letter to Murdoch that by joining IPSO “News UK is rejecting meaningful reform of the UK self-regulatory system and attempting to preserve the failed arrangements of the past”.
Most national newspaper publishers (including News UK) have already signed contracts binding them in to membership of IPSO. The new regulator is set to be up and running from 1 June.
The FT announced last week that it will not be joining IPSO but will instead be regulating itself. The Guardian and Independent have yet to decide whether or not to join IPSO.
Here is the letter in full:
April 17, 2014
Dear Rupert Murdoch,
We are victims of unlawful actions by employees of the News of the World or The Sun, papers published by a News Corporation company.
As you know, the total cost to News Corporation of governance failure in the UK, including the opportunity cost and the damage to reputation, is incalculable, not least because prosecutions and litigation are likely to continue for years. We assume that everyone with an interest in the future of News Corp and its subsidiaries wants to ensure such failure cannot happen again, and that all appropriate steps are taken to restore the trust of the British public in the company and its papers.
We write now to express our deep regret that the management of News UK is turning its back on an important opportunity to restore trust. In defiance of an exceptionally broad consensus of opinion in the UK about the best way for the press to proceed, News UK is rejecting meaningful reform of the UK self-regulatory system and attempting to preserve the failed arrangements of the past.
Worse, News UK is leading a disreputable campaign of scaremongering while failing to reflect the majority view in its papers. You once said, Mr Murdoch, that newspapers had ‘a great power for evil’ – the power to withhold important information from the public. News UK papers are currently exercising that power.
The arrangements set out in the UK Royal Charter on Press Self-Regulation that was endorsed by all parties in the British Parliament last March pose no threat to freedom of expression. If they did we would not endorse them. Nor would Britain’s National Union of Journalists. Nor would the many prominent writers, directors, broadcasters and lawyers who have expressed their support. Nor would the vast majority of the British public.
Instead of embracing reform and so demonstrating that it has changed, News UK is digging itself into a hole of untrustworthiness and denial. Instead of making a break with a shameful past, it is clinging to that past.
Unless there is a change of heart, News UK is again on course for governance failure, disastrous costs, harm to British citizens and public disgrace. We urge you to use your influence to ensure that the management of News UK embraces a change that is necessary, safe and good for both the company and the British public.
Máire M. Davies