TUESDAY 11 DEC 2012 11:11 AM


Parliament, newspapers, industry leaders and the nation are in disagreement about the direction to be pursued following the Leveson Inquiry’s recommendations. Newspaper editors, who met last week, supported Lord Justice Leveson’s suggestion to organise a new, independent regulatory body. Parliamentary leaders and the prime minister remain in debate about the extent to which the body will be backed by legislation.

Today, the PRCA issued a statement covering its stance on the Leveson Inquiry’s results. Director-general Francis Ingham’s statement follows a survey of 110 PRCA members. Members favoured either a non-statutory newspaper ombudsman or a strengthened Press Complaints Commission rather than implement a statutory base on an independent regulator. Both the PRCA and the CIPR support a non-statutory regulation of the press in an effort to protect the freedom of the press and the ability of the public relations industry to act freely.

Ingham says, “A free press holds the PR industry and those that it represents to account, and we believe that the healthiest environment for our industry is one where there is public trust in our communications.”

He also notes that the media’s role as lobbyists to politicians remains problematic. He says any member of the press acting as a lobbyist in must be registered as such.

After Leveson’s announcement of the completed report, the CIPR released a statement similar to Ingham’s. The group calls for a non-statutory body in order to maintain the freedom of the public relations industry and the press.

It said, “The freedom and plurality of the press is fundamental to a thriving democracy, with this independence also being vital to the professional practice of public relations. In order to preserve the fundamental freedom of the press, it is the CIPR’s belief that press regulation should be run by a new, independent, non-statutory body.”