Campaign group Hacked Off has warned regional newspapers that they will be stung for massive damages if they refuse to join the Government’s preferred press regulator.
In a 10 page document released today, the pressure group advised regional press publishers that they will “surrender control” to the major publishers if they sign up with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).
Hacked Off has written to all regional newspaper groups and issued them with a pamphlet outlining the advantages of the Government-backed scheme.
Chairman Hugh Tomlinson (pictured above) warned: "I want to make you aware of the serious disadvantages of Ipso membership for smaller publishers.
"Under Ipso, you will surrender control to larger publishers, because it is structurally biased against smaller publishers.
"You will pay more because there is no 'polluter pays' principle.
"You cannot leave for six years – regardless of any rule, fee, or code changes.
"You are more likely to be fined than well-resourced publishers as they will be better able to thwart investigations. And you won't benefit from costs protections in court because you will have denied litigants the option to access arbitration.
"In any case, Ipso will not command public trust, which is essential for all functioning regulators."
Hacked Off denied the deal struck with the major political parties on 17 March 2013 had been done over pizza and accused national newspaper publishers of running a disinformation campaign.