Alternative press regulator Impress is set to be funded almost entirely by Max Mosley’s family charity.
The regulator revealed yesterday that it has applied for official recognition under the Royal Charter process and that it has 12, mainly hyperlocal website, publishers signed up as members.
- February 28, 2020
- February 25, 2020
- July 2, 2019
The Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust will provide funding of £3.8m to cover the first four years of operation for the new regulator.
Mosley has been a campaigner for privacy and press reform since 2008 when he won £60,000 in damages from the News of the World over its coverage of his sex life.
If Impress gains official recognition members will be protected from having to pay exemplary damages in privacy and libel cases. Under the Crime and Courts Act, they could also be protected from paying the losing side’s costs in legal actions. But the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has hinted that the Government is unlikely to enact this clause of the legislation.
The Press Recognition Panel, which has state funding of £3m for three years, will assess whether Impress meets the Leveson criteria set out in the Royal Charter around independence and effectiveness.
Impress offers an alternative to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) which was set up just over a year ago and regulates most national and regional newspapers and magazines. IPSO is funded by its members.
Guardian News and Media, the Independent titles, the FT and the Evening Standard all currently have no external regulation. These titles have aired concerns that IPSO is not independent enough from the news industry.
Impress also offers members an arbitration scheme for libel and privacy disputes. This scheme is free to claimants, but publishers must pay the arbitration costs up to a maximum of £3,500.
The 12 publishers to sign up to Impress pay subscriptions of £50, if their turnover is below £100,000, or £550 if they turnover of £100,000 to £1m.
Executive director of the Society of Editors, Bob Satchwell, said it was an interesting “philanthropic gesture” for Mosley to “fund an organisation which will not regulate any of the newspapers that were at the heart of criticism in recent years…
“All of them and many more have signed up to IPSO, which is the real regulator of the national and regional press and magazines in the UK.”