Telegraph Media Group chief executive Murdoch MacLennan (pictured) has joined the body which holds the purse strings for new press regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
The Regulatory Funding Company appoints the Editors’ Code Committee and also has some influence over appointments to the IPSO board and complaints committee.
It also collects fees from member organisations of the new regulator and appoints the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee.
The industry members of the Code Committee have been appointed. Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre remains chairman and Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig is also on the committee.
Following the Leveson Inquiry the code committee agreed to increase the number of lay, non industry, members to five.
It was decided that two of these will be IPSO chair Sir Alan Moses and IPSO chief executive Matt Tee.
The other three non-industry members will be appointed by an independent panel which is to be convened by IPSO.
Press Gazette understands that once the Code of Practice Committee is full, its first job will be to consider a review of the Editors’ Code.
The Committee completed an extensive consultation on changes to the Editors’ Code in April 2013 but any consideration of the responses has been shelved pending the formation of IPSO.
Most major national and regional newspaper and magazine publishers are members of IPSO.
The Financial Times, Independent, Guardian and Evening Standard are all currently boycotting IPSO having previously expressed concern about its independence from the industry.
Guardian Media Group warned last year that the new system of press regulation could end up being controlled by the big three publishing groups of: Telegraph Media Group, the Mail titles and News UK via their ability to control the Regulatory Funding Committee.
The other industry members of the Editors’ Code Committee are:
- Damian Bates, editor of the Press and Journal in Aberdeen
- Neil Benson, editorial director of Trinity Mirror regionals
- Jonathan Grun, editor of the Press Association
- Ian Murray, editor of the Southern Evening Echo
- Mike Sassi, editor of the Nottingham Post
- Hannah Walker editor of the South London Press
- Harriet Wilson, of Conde Nast
- John Witherow, editor of The Times.
The RFC board are:
- Paul Vickers, group legal director of Trinity Mirror
- Albert Read, deputy managing director of Conde Nast Publications
- Michael Gilson, editor of the Belfast Telegraph
- Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press
- Brian McCarthy, group ginance director of Archant
- Ellis Watson, chief executive of DC Thomson
- Paul Ashford, group editorial director of Northern & Shell
- Christopher Longcroft, chief financial officer of News UK
- Murdoch MacLennan, chief executive of Telegraph Media Group
The RFC appoints the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee.
Meanwhile, the five initial members of the Government-convened press regulation Recognition Panel have been named.
This independent body will have the job of deciding if any press regulator meets the criteria set out in the Royal Charter on the regulation of the press.
Only regulators which are okayed by the Recognition Panel will be able to insulate members from the threat of punitive costs in libel and privacy cases as set out in the Crime and Courts Act 2013.
IPSO has said it will not seek recognition (and as currently set up would not get it).
But rival press regulator IMPRESS, which has yet to start operating, may seek official recognition.
David Wolfe QC is chair of the Recognition Panel, the other members are:
- Harry Cayton, chief executive of the Professional Standards Authority
- Emma Gilpin-Jacobs, former Liberal Democrat director of communications
- Carolyn Regan, former chief executive of the Legal Services Commission
- Harry Rich, chief executive of the Royal Institute of British Architects
- Tim Suter, managing director of Perspective Associates.