Newspaper industry steps up fight against official press regulator Impress

William Turvill
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Heavy Rain In London
Newspapers can be used for rain protection, as well as reading (Source: Getty)

The newspaper industry has moved a step forward in its bid to challenge the status of the UK’s officially-recognised press regulator, Impress.

The News Media Association (NMA) is in the process of applying for a judicial review of the Press Recognition Panel’s (PRP) decision to recognise Impress.

The NMA said today that it had issued documents in support of the application in court and served papers to Impress and the PRP.

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The majority of newspapers in the UK are regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), with only a handful of small titles choosing Impress.

Impress was recognised by the PRP in October. It was able to obtain official status because, in the view of the PRP, it meets the regulator requirements set out by Lord Justice Leveson at the end of his inquiry into press ethics.

Ipso has not applied to be recognised by the PRP because its members are opposed to certain Leveson requirements, which they see as a move towards state regulation of the press.

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The media spotlight on Impress has intensified in recent weeks because of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which the government completed a consultation on earlier this week.

If implemented, Section 40 would mean that newspapers not regulated by Impress, as the official, government-endorsed body, would be forced to pay the legal costs of claimants in libel cases – even if they win the case.

The NMA warned earlier this week that this “draconian law” could cost the press industry £100m a year.