AddThis SmartLayers

Great and good urge press to back Royal Charter

A group of the ‘great and the good’ have come together to urge newspapers to embrace the government’s plans to state-sponsored regulation of the press.

National and regional newspapers have so far refused to sign-up to the proposed Royal Charter agreed between the three main political parties and lobby group Hacked Off last March.

Now a group of 100 prominent individuals from the worlds of literature, the arts, science, academia, human rights and the law have signed a delcaration in support of the proposed system of regulation.

They include a handful of prominent journalists including the former Sun editor David Yelland, Guardian investigative reporter Nick Davies and the columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, as well two university journalism professsors.

The declaration states:  “We believe that editors and journalists will rise in public esteem when they accept a form of self-regulation that is independently audited on the lines recommended by Lord Justice Leveson and laid down in the Royal Charter of 30 October 2013.

“It is our view that this Charter safeguards the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable. That is why we support it and that is why we urge newspaper publishers to embrace it.”

Hacked off chairman Brian Cathcart said, “Leading figures in free expression and this country’s cultural life, like the public, are expecting change in the conduct of the press and are backing the Royal Charter as the only credible way to deliver it.

“It is time for newspaper publishers to put aside groundless claims of a threat to free expression, embrace the improvements offered under the Royal Charter system and rebuild the public’s trust.”

The full list of signatories includes:

Margaret Aspinall – Hillsborough family press victim
Bryan Adams – Musician
Riz Ahmed – Actor and musician
Monica Ali – Writer
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – Journalist and author
Lisa Appignanesi – Author
Michael Apted – Film director
Neal Ascherson – Journalist and author
Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE – Playwright
Clare Balding OBE – Broadcaster
Antony Beevor – Writer
Helen Belcher – Transmediawatch
Alan Bennett – Writer
Sophie Bennett – Acting Director, UK Feminista
Patricia Bernal – Mother of murder victim and press victim
Anthony Bernal – Brother of murder victim and press victim
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC – Human Rights Lawyer
John Bishop – Comedian
Prof Colin Blakemore – scientist and broadcaster
James Blunt – Musician
John Bowers QC – Employment silk
William Boyd – Writer
Rory Bremner FKC – impressionist, playwright and comedian
Marcus Brigstocke – Comedian
Peter Burden – Media Author
Guy Chambers – Record Producer
John Cleese – Comedian & Python
Dr Madeleine Coy – Deputy Director, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University
Prof James Curran – Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London
Paul Dadge – 7/7 first responder and press victim
Stephen Daldry – Producer and director
Nick Davies – Investigative journalist, writer and documentary maker
Professor Richard Dawkins – Scientist and Writer
Helen Fielding – Author
Bill Forsyth – Film Maker
Prof Suzanne Franks – Professor of Journalism, City University
Michael Frayn – Author, playwright
Stephen Frears – Film director
Prof Chris Frost – Professor of Journalism, Liverpool John Moores University
Stephen Fry – Broadcaster & Writer
Prof. Conor Gearty – Professor of Law, LSE
Mo George – Actor and press victim
Terry Gilliam – Film Maker & python
Susana Giner – Director, Youth Media Agency
Roger Graef – Documentary-maker
A C Grayling – Author
Sarah Green – Campaigns Manager, End Violence Against Women Coalition,
Lee Hall – Writer
Jacqui Hames – Former police officer and Crimewatch presenter and press victim
Sir David Hare – Playwright
Prof Ian Hargreaves – Professor of Digital Economy, Cardiff University
Katie Hickman – Writer
Alan Hollinghurst – Writer
Baroness Sheila Hollins – Mother of Abigail Witchells & victim of press
Richard Horton – Nightjack’ Blogger
Rufus Hound – Comedian
Sir Nick Hytner – Theatre Director
Karen Ingala Smith – Chief Executive of domestic and sexual violence charity
Christopher Jefferies – victim of press abuse
Terry Jones – Comedian, film-maker & Python
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC – Human Rights Barrister
Nicolas Kent – Theatre director
Imran Khan – Solicitor
Baroness Beeban Kidron – Film Director
Peter Kosminsky – Film director
Mike Leigh – Writer and Director
Robert Llewellyn – Actor, presenter and novelist
Gary Lineker – Broadcaster
Prof Joni Lovenduski – Professor of Politics, Birkbeck, University of London
Angus Macqueen – Documentary-maker
Krish Majumdar – Documentary-maker
Michael Mansfield QC – Human Rights Lawyer
Zoe Margolis – Author – victim of press
Prof Kevin Marsh – ex-broadcaster
Gerry & Kate McCann – Victims of press abuse
Ian McEwan – Author
Prof Maire Messenger Davies – Professor of Media Studies, University of Ulster
Sir Jonathan Miller – Author, director, doctor, polymath
Julian Mitchell – Playwright
Peter Morgan – Film-writer and Playwright
Baroness Onora O’Neill – Philosopher
Lord Brian Paddick – Ex-police officer and press victim
Sir Alan Parker – Film Maker
Prof Julian Petley – Chair, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom,
Professor Gavin Phillpson – Durham Law School, Durham University
Guy Ritchie – Film Director
Sue Roberts – Hillsborough families press victim
JK Rowling – Author
Salman Rushdie – Author
Willy Russell – Playwright
Prof Jean Seaton – Professor of Media History, University of Westminster
Stephen Sedley – retired Court of Appeal -Judge
Sir Tom Stoppard – writer
Peter Tatchell – Human Rights Campaigner
Terrence Tehranian – Media entreprenuer
Emma Thompson – Screenwriter and actress
Claire Tomalin – Author
Polly Toynbee – Journalist
Prof John Tulloch – 7/7 survivor and press victim
Anna Van Heeswijk – Chief Executive, OBJECT campaign
Bishop of Wakefield
Margaret & James Watson – Bereaved parents and press victims
Irvine Welsh – Writer
Rowan Williams – former Archbishop of Canterbury
John Willis – Documentary-maker
Jane Winter – Northern Ireland human rights campaigner
Victoria Wood – Writer and Comedian
Brian Woods – Documentary-maker
David Yelland – Former editor of The Sun


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • November 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Just goes to show idiocy flourishes among our so-called ‘elite’…

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • November 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    The fact that Nick Davies and David Yelland are on that list should be a clincher. Remember, Nick Davies has been our foremost investigative journalist of the past decade. Says it all to me.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • November 29, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    So lots of writers, broadcasters (competitors), ‘victims’ of the press (wasn’t aware the regional press had actually committed crimes against people), authors and journalism teachers. But only a couple of proper journalists. Who work for the Guardian.

    When people in the regional press start signing up, then show me the dotted line. Until then, I think I’ll pass.

    How would the world of football feel if a load of rugby players sent them a patronising ‘declaration’ telling them they should start playing with different rules? Like I feel now, I should imagine?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • November 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    There is a God! At last the voice of sanity in the media. I was about to give up hope but there must be some sensible people left in this dying industry and their names are among the ones above. All we need is for the other dinosaurs to either go away or wake up to the new reality.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • November 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I’ve never heard of a large number of these ‘great and good’. Why should I take any notice of them, might as well pop round and ask my next door neighbour what he thinks!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • November 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

    So, regional news teams are supposed to pay attention to the views of a lot of people with a lot of axes to grind after who feel they have been badly treated by the national press?

    Right, I see.

    I’m not sure what a “press victim” means either, is that what THEY think or have they got proof? ie PCC verdicts. If not, the term is totally meaningless.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • November 30, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Some really surprising names on this list.

    Stephen Fry?

    Enough said, I think.

    What gives a load of luvvies and others with chips on their shoulder the right to try to muzzle a free press?

    I am confidant the national and regional press as a whole will see through this nonsense and hold firm.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • December 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Amazing the range of reasons that the objectors to the charter here give:

    1. the kind of people who support the charter: ‘luvvies and others with chips on their shoulders’ – so what about the consistent majority of the public who support it then? Or worse (shock horror) polymath and brainbox Stephen Fry (‘enough said’). Prejudice isn’t a reason, it’s an admission you don’t have a proper argument.

    2. no proof of press victimhood – ‘ie PCC verdicts.’ Right,as if most people will accept the views of the very body that has failed in its job as the clincher. And the only person who has used the term ‘press victim’ here… …is the one who then calls it meaningless. Nice straw man argument.

    3. ignorance: ‘I’ve never heard of a large number of these ‘great and good’ so ‘why should I take any notice of them’? Ignorance isn’t a reason, it’s an admission you don’t know enough.

    4. not ‘proper journalists’ but ‘lots of writers, broadcasters (competitors), ‘victims’ of the press, authors and journalism teachers’ and two journos who write for The Guardian. So the fact that these other writers often have journalism experience (possibly – shock horror – more than the writer of that particular comment) counts for nothing? This is Shaw’s ‘all professions are conspiracies against the laity’ brought to life: only ‘proper journalists’ know enough to be entitled to a say in this matter. To see what nonsense this argument this is, try substituting any other profession for the word ‘journalist’ in this context (‘he’s not a proper doctor so we can ignore his views on how to regulate doctors’). This matter is far too important to be left to only its practitioners to decide upon, and is exactly why the public does not trust the press and why the PCC has lost public confidence.

    5. name-calling: ‘Just goes to show idiocy flourishes among our so-called ‘elite’…’ and ‘a quite bizarre list of deluded individuals’. Yup, call ’em deluded idiots – that’ll convince the doubters for sure…

    I used to wonder if there was a good argument against the charter. If these ‘arguments’ above are the best that anyone can come up with, I am pretty sure there isn’t.

    Thanks guys, you’ve convinced me the charter is a good thing.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)