Belfast Telegraph rejects Royal Charter
Editorial explains support for “toughest self-regulation in the western world”
UK culture secretary Maria Miller: praised for her ‘common sense’
The Royal Charter that the UK government had been attempting to introduce in Britain seems to be very nearly dead in the water, but just in case anyone thought otherwise, the Belfast Telegraph has come out against it and in support of the industry’s rival proposal, the establishment of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).
“After 143 years of fine journalism, we will not sacrifice our integrity by signing up to the Royal Charter,” read the headline on its Editor’s Viewpoint on Tuesday. The Royal Charter, in its view, “would give politicians the ability to neuter the press for the first time in 300 years”.
The newspaper, which is owned by Independent News & Media and edited by Mike Gilson, praises UK culture secretary Maria Miller for her “common sense” – Miller said on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that she might be willing to give Ipso a chance to work.
“We believe that the industry’s plans present the best future for the press and for the protection of the public. As the current phone-hacking trial shows, there are already effective laws in place for those who might stray beyond acceptable boundaries,” the editorial says. The proposals for Ipso represent “the toughest self-regulation in the western world”, it adds.
In the Republic, INM titles are signed up to the Press Council of Ireland, which is a regulator with statutory underpinning, a system that is not dissimilar to that mooted under the Royal Charter. In the UK, however, fears that its parliament might vote in future “to change the rules to something even more draconian” appear to be more acute.