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Guardian yet to back new regulator

The Guardian has failed to sign up to a new press regulator due to be launched by the industry next spring over ongoing "concerns" about the plans.

Publishers met today to sign contracts establishing the "tough and effective" new Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), with more than 90% of national newspapers supporting the proposals.

But the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the Independent did not give their formal backing to the move.

The Guardian has previously raised concerns that the plans were " insufficiently independent".

"The Guardian has not ruled out joining Ipso in the future, but - along with one or two other national papers - has concerns about some aspects of the proposed regulator, which we continue to discuss," a Guardian spokeswoman said tonight.

"We have consistently argued for a regulator that is independent of politicians and credible with the public.

"We will continue to engage in conversations with all concerned parties in order to help achieve this."

Earlier this month, press reform campaigners attempted to persuade regional newspapers to shun the plans in favour of a watchdog backed by royal charter but most have supported the industry's new self-regulatory system, which is expected to be up and running by May 1 next year.

Publishers that have so far signed up include Northern & Shell, Telegraph Media Group, Associated, News UK, Trinity Mirror, Newsquest Media Group, Local World, Archant, and Tindle Newspapers.

Paul Vickers, chairman of the industry implementation group, said: " Publishers from across the national, regional, local and periodical press have been meeting today to sign contracts to establish the new Independent Press Standards Organisation.

" The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with publishers representing more than 90% of the national press and the vast majority of the regional press, along with major magazine publishers, signing.

"T his is an important milestone in the process of setting up the UK's new self-regulatory system.

"We will therefore now move to complete the full implementation of Ipso - which will be an independent, tough and effective regulator fully in line with the principles of the Leveson report - by May 1 next year.

" Independent appointments procedures for Ipso are also under way and further announcements on the application and selection timetable will be made in due course by Sir Hayden Phillips."

Lord Hunt of Wirral, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, said the successor body would be "independent and effective" and "in accordance with Leveson principles".

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: "This is a welcome and hugely significant development for the press and the public.

"It is an important milestone in the establishment of a tough, new system of regulation.

"Leveson said this would be the ideal outcome."

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: "Both the industry and the Government agree self-regulation of the press is the way forward. We also agree a royal charter is the best framework for that.

"We welcome the progress the press has made in setting up a self-regulator - that is exactly what they should be doing.

"The choice of whether to apply for recognition lies with the industry. We would encourage them to do so to access the valuable legal incentives that will be available to members of a recognised self-regulator."


From Belfast Telegraph