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09 February 2017

Tony Gallagher: State Sponsored Impress Incompatible With A Free Press    

The Sun editor in chief Tony Gallagher has said that state sponsored regulator Impress “has no place” in a regulatory environment which supports a vibrant and robust free press.  

Speaking on the Today programme yesterday, Mr Gallagher said being regulated by Impress would allow politicians to have some control over newspapers.  

Mr Gallagher said: “Impress is a state sponsored regulator. It would allow MPs to have some control over us. It is bankrolled by a tycoon who hates the press, it is run by people whose public position is hating the tabloid press in particular, and would like to see them driven out of business.

“It is a state sponsored regulator which has no place if you believe in the rights of a free press.”

IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses was also interviewed on the programme and defended the regulator’s independence from the industry.  

He said: “On the ground, in reality there is only one regulator providing protection for the public.

You have only to read the external review by Pilling to see that our daily, weekly and monthly decisions about whether there has been a breach of the code are independent and absent of the control of any newspapers.

“I wouldn’t chair an organisation in which we did not have independent decision making. I’d go tomorrow. Nobody tells me what to think, nobody tells me or any of the other members of the complaints committee how to decide or what to decide.” 

Talking about the Press Recognition Panel, he added: “We were set up not to seek recognition. It is part of the rules of association.”

Sir Alan said that the PRP had introduced a condition for recognition which Leveson had not recommended “which requires every newspaper to pay for the whole of the cost of arbitration, win, lose or draw and that I believe is the sticking point.”

“The other one is compulsory apologies which, as you will know at the BBC now that you are regulated by Ofcom, was debated in the House of Lords and the idea of compulsory apology was rejected. It started with Ofcom and now they no longer have it. It is those two things where we don’t comply.

“I have an ambition to continue and to increase our regulation holding newspapers and all media to account to a set of clear standards and of enforcing compliance with those standards.

“It is never more important, while there is all the flatulence on the web, people should be able to see that those newspapers that belong to us have committed themselves publicly to a set of standards that are not themselves criticised.”