TUESDAY 12 FEB 2013 11:33 AM


Whitehall is buzzing with news of the potential Royal Charter to be endowed upon a press regulatory body. Hugh Grant, Labour and lot want statutory regulation, most newspapers want less oversight. A Royal Charter stands firmly between the two camps.

Royal Charters have been around since the House of Plantagenet was hanging around Winchester. In the age of the House of Windsor, however, Royal Charters are typically given to bodies that work in the public interest. One such body, which received its charter in 2005, is the CIPR.

The CIPR acts as an independent regulatory body over the profession of public relations. Its membership adheres to a strict code of conduct and ethics established by the Privy Council. Membership is optional, but all members must abide by the code of conduct.

Andrew Ross, senior public relations officer at the CIPR, says, “A chartered body is there to act in the public interest. The CIPR is there to uphold professional standards in public relations through membership and in abiding to a code of conduct.”

While the code is mandated by the Privy Council, the chartered body operates largely independent from Government oversight. In the proposed press regulations system, a Royal Charter would likely allow the press to opt in to membership in the organisation. It would also ensure that the press adheres to ethical regulations and include a strict process for the public to lodge a complaint.