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‘Section 40 would be ruinous to local press’ says PA

Pete CliftonThe UK and Ireland’s national news agency has hit out at proposed legislation which would be “ruinous” to the local press.

The Press Association has criticised Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 as the government’s consultation into the planned law comes to an end today.

If brought in, the legislation could see publishers forced to pay both sides’ costs in a libel action even if they win.

Section 40 has been widely criticised by both regional and national industry figures.

Pete Clifton, editor-in-chief of PA, said: “PA has been a champion of a free press for 150 years and we stand full square behind the campaign against Section 40 and Leveson 2.

“We are active members of the very effective IPSO, and that will always be our choice ahead of a state-appointed regulator, bank-rolled by one individual.

“The implementation of Section 40 would be ruinous for the media, particularly our precious local press, and anyone who believes in the freedom of the press in the UK should raise their voice in protest.”

In October, the Press Recognition Panel, set up in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, approved Max Mosley-funded body Impress as an official press watchdog under the government’s Royal Charter, even though it has only a handful of members.

The approval potentially opens the way to the implementation of Section 40, which states that any publisher not signed-up to an approved regulator would have to pay both sides’ costs in a libel or privacy action, whether they win or lose.