The public has rejected the idea that a press regulator should be funded by wealthy donors.
A new YouGov poll, published today, has found just four per cent of people think a press regulator should be funded by donations from wealthy individuals and trusts, which is how IMPRESS — the newly appointed state-recognised regulator — is financed.
This compared with 49 per cent who believe a regulator should be funded by the newspaper industry itself, as the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is. The vast majority of newspapers, including the Advertiser and Express, have voluntarily signed up to a system of tough, independent self-regulation under IPSO.
In his report into the culture, ethics and practices of the press published in November 2012, Lord Justice Leveson said a regulator for the press should be funded by its members, and IPSO — which is funded entirely by member publishers — was subsequently established to regulate the press.
IMPRESS, the state-recognised regulator which not a single significant publisher has signed up to, is funded by Max Mosley.
Lynne Anderson, deputy chief executive of the News Media Association, which represents the industry, said: “This survey demonstrates conclusively that a regulatory regime led by Impress — which is completely reliant upon funding from one wealthy individual, Max Mosley — cannot command the confidence of the public.
“IPSO is funded in its entirety by its member national, regional and local newspaper publishers which is the funding model the public want and expect from an industry which is committed to robust self-regulation.
“It is also abundantly clear from the poll there is absolutely no public appetite for further activity from the Government in this area — such as the reopening of the Leveson Inquiry — when there are other much more pressing priorities at hand.”
The YouGov poll also found the public overwhelmingly believe the Government should be focussing its attention and resources on areas other than press regulation, which came at the very bottom of a list of 16 issues the Government should focus on over the next few years.
The poll found just one per cent of respondents thought press regulation should be among the top four priorities, after airport expansion (two per cent). The top four priorities were Brexit (53 per cent), health (48 per cent), immigration and asylum (45 per cent) and the economy (44 per cent).
Commissioned by the NMA, the poll also found more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of people believe news on social media platforms like Facebook — which are currently unregulated — should be subject at least to the same level of regulation as newspapers or even tighter regulation.
Britain’s press is subject to numerous criminal and civil laws covering news gathering and reporting. The vast majority of newspapers and magazines have also signed up voluntarily to a system of tough, independent self-regulation under IPSO.
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