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Press charter appeal plea heard

Newspapers and magazines are going to the Court of Appeal in the latest stage of their battle against a new Royal Charter intended to govern the regulation of the press.

The Queen set her seal of approval on the charter at a meeting of the Privy Council after it received the backing of the three main political parties.

Newspaper and magazine publishers are seeking to appeal over a High Court ruling which upheld a Privy Council decision rejecting a rival charter put forward by the industry itself.

Industry body Pressbof is asking Lord Justice Maurice Kay, vice-president of the appeal court, for permission to appeal relying on fresh evidence.

The Government has insisted its cross-party charter offers the press the best alternative to a system of full statutory regulation.

But the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the new press regulatory body backed by almost all national newspapers in opposition to the approved Royal Charter, yesterday named Sir Alan Moses - an appeal court judge - as its first chairman.

Sir Hayden Phillips, chairman of the independent panel that made the appointment, said Sir Alan was the "unanimous choice" of the panel.

Ipso is intended to replace the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which came in for wide criticism.

Press reform campaign group Hacked Off, which supports the cross-party charter plan, said Sir Alan's appointment "changes nothing" and described Ipso as a "dreadful insult" to victims of press intrusion.

Professor Brian Cathcart, director of Hacked Off, said: "The appointment of Sir Alan Moses as chair of Ipso changes nothing when the structure and operation of this 'Son of PCC' remain so fatally flawed."

But Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, welcomed the new chairman and expressed his full support for Ipso.

He said: "Sir Alan Moses clearly has impeccable credentials and experience in dealing with self-regulation.

"The way he handled the difficult issues in the Soham murder trial showed that he knows how to balance the sometimes competing interests of justice, victims and the media as the conduit to the public.

"He was appointed by an open and independent process and his CV shows that neither the public nor the press need have concerns about his reputation for fearless independence and integrity.

"It will be up to Sir Alan and his new board to build a similar reputation for Ipso."


From Belfast Telegraph