John Whittingdale Attacks ‘Draconian’ Costs On Publishers As Press Recognition Panel Due To Rule On Impress

Whittingdale described the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) as an “improvement” (on the PCC), but said the regulatory body needed to improve further.

He said: “But the difficulty is that Impress has, I think, 13 members all of which are tiny publications.

“Every single major newspaper, national and the local ones, have said they don’t wish to take part or participate in Impress and therefore if you bring in these sanctions you are going to punish every newspaper across the country.”

Whittingdale said: “What I find too draconian is this idea of imposing costs on newspapers even if they win.”

Instead, Whittingdale endorsed the use of the “carrot” rather than the “stick”.

He said that additional protection could be offered to newspapers that do join a recognised regulatory body like Impress, without imposing a “draconian sanction on press who choose not to join”.

But Hacked Off argued that said settling for press self-regulation “would be a return to the wild-west days of the failed PCC, and decades of political/press back-scratching”.

On Monday critics lambasted Trevor Kavanagh after he published a column criticising Fatima Manji for “making a fool of her herself” by launching a complaint with Ipso against Kelvin MacKenzie.

Last week Ipso cleared MacKenzie of wrong-doing after he attacked Manji for wearing a hijab while reporting on the Nice terror attack.

Kavanagh is one of Ipso’s board members.

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