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SoE: Brown's regulation experience proves IPSO is working effectively

17 May 2017


Gordon Brown’s experience with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) proves that press regulation is working effectively, the Society of Editors has said.

It was reported by the BBC this week that the former Prime Minister had written to the Culture Secretary arguing that his experience with the press regulator strengthened the case for a second stage of the Leveson Inquiry after IPSO upheld a complaint he made against The Daily Telegraph.

The Society of Editors, which represents more than 400 editors in broadcast, national and regional and local media, said that, contrary to Mr Brown’s call, his experience showed that the regulator was working effectively to hold newspapers and magazines to account.

The Society said: “The Independent Press Standards Organisation’s ruling against The Daily Telegraph proves that press regulation is working effectively. While the publication of any inaccuracy is regrettable, newspapers do make mistakes and it is the job of an independent regulator to adjudicate and direct a correction where required. This is what the vast majority of national, regional and local newspapers have voluntarily signed up to and the adjudication published on page 2 of The Daily Telegraph illustrates that the system is working effectively.

The paper re-published an old heading, "The Truth About the Cabinet Expenses", together with a picture of Brown and his brother in relation to an article about Brown’s expenses. In a ruling published this week, Ipso found that the Telegraph "failed to acknowledge that it had effectively made a fresh allegation of abuse", and that this was a serious and unjustified allegation.

Mr Brown went on to suggest that the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, which no decision has yet been made on, was necessary to investigation past complaints of ‘email hacking, impersonation, blagging and media relationships with the police’.

The Society of Editors, which has opposed Leveson 2, suggested that Mr Brown was wrong to conflate his experience with mistakes made by one newspaper as the basis for a costly inquiry into a diverse industry. 

It added: “Mr Brown’s suggestion that his experience proves that the press has not cleaned up its act and that this warrants a re-examination of relationships between the police and the media and corporate governance does not make sense.

“The fact remains that there is little public or political appetite for another costly inquiry and any objective consideration of the efforts of the newspaper industry to respond positively to the first part of the Leveson Inquiry would conclude that changes have been made and high standards of journalism continue to be upheld.”

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