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Ex-MEN editor to help choose press regulators

Former Manchester Evening News editor Paul Horrocks has been named on a panel which will appoint members of a proposed new press regulator.

Publishers are planning to set up an Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to oversee the industry as an alternative to the state-sponsored regulator proposed by the government.

A five-person panel was named today which will have the job of appointing IPSO’s chairman and directors.

As well as Paul, who stepped down as MEN editor in 2099, the panel includes Times editor John Witherow and retired judge Sir Hayden Phillips.

Sir Hayden Phillips said:  “The first task for me and for my colleagues on the Appointment Panel is to select the Chair of the Board of IPSO. Once appointed Chair Designate, he or she will join the Panel to help us select the other Directors of the Board.

“My objective is that the IPSO Board will have been created and be ready to act by 1 May 2014. I hope that a wide range of candidates of quality and experience will come forward to serve on such an important new national institution”.

Lobby group Hacked Off swiftly issued a statement claiming the panel’s membership shows IPSO will be “anything but independent.”

Without mentioning Paul by name, it attacked his apopointment on the basis that he previously served on the “discredited” Press Complaints Commission.

Its director Brian Cathcart said: “This shows the newspaper companies’ utter contempt for the very idea of independence.

“In a process that could hardly be less transparent, they hand-picked a retired judge who, by a second and equally obscure process, has now chosen a group that includes a serving editor employed by Rupert Murdoch who has displayed an extraordinary bias against the public in his papers’ coverage of press affairs.

“Alongside him, remarkably, is a former member of the discredited Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

“As the Prime Minister pointed out in a recent interview, what the newspaper industry needs to do to win the public’s trust is to establish a self-regulator that meets the basic standards recommended by Leveson and embodied in the Royal Charter. Anything less – and IPSO is far, far less – is a recipe for further outrages against the public and further loss of faith in journalism.”

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  • January 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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    This is excellent progress for IPSO and it will help to further shunt the disgraceful Royal Charter granted by the Privy Council – and which embodies a form of state regulation of the press that was envisioned in Leveson’s Inquiry report – ever more firmly into the sidings, where it can gather dust in perpertuity. In the Royal Charter – which is effectively state licensing of the press via statute – Hacked Off have got what they wanted – a members’ club for the press. The problem they do not seem to have anticipated is that they cannot, and will not be able to, compel anyone to join. One gains the impression that they have been left impotently scratching their heads and wondering what to do next.

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  • January 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm
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    As an unelected group with undisclosed backing themselves, Hacked Off once again show their quite staggering level of undeserved self-importance by issuing another ill-informed comment on an issue they have, and should continue to have, zero influence over. Are the public outraged by this? Really? Somehow, I doubt it.

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