Ipso backs Mirror on Newmark sting
Thursday 26 March, 2015 The Sunday Mirror sting that ended Brooks Newmark's political career was justified as in the public interest, Ipso has ruled.
The regulator initiated its investigation even though Newmark had not complained - something the Press Complaints Commission could not do - to see whether the former Civil Society Minister had been a victim of entrapment in contravention of the editors' code.
Guido Fawkes writer Alex Wickham had set up a fake Twitter account pretending to be a Tory activist called Sophie Wittams. After exchanging a series of messages, Newmark sent "Wittams" an explicit selfie.
The story was offered to the Sun and Mail, which both turned it down, before the Mirror agreed to publish. The paper argued that the story was not the result of a fishing expedition, but that the sting had been closely targeted because Newmark, whose role was to encourage more women to enter politics, was said to have had a record of approaching women via social media.
Ipso ruled that the story was in the public interest and that the subterfuge was justified because there was no other way to get it.
Newmark, who is standing down as MP for Braintre at the election, did not co-operate with the investigation and the regulator did not question Wickham.
Roy Greenslade has a view on that, which you can read here.
You can see the full adjudication here.
SubScribe questioned the story initially: a malicious sting
Style Counsel disagreed
Then the editor had second thoughts: humble pie for breakfast.
Paul Vickers gives up Ipso funding chair
Wednesday 4 March Paul Vickers has resigned as chairman of the Regulatory Funding Company that finances Ipso - on the day that the High Court was told of "industrial scale" hacking at the Mirror papers during his tenure as the group's legal director.
Vickers, pictured, said that he had intended to step down when his term of office expired in May, but had decided to go now because he did not want his presence to be used by "enemies of a robust free press" as a weapon to beat Ipso.
Hacked Off had called for him to resign or be removed from the funding body. It has also questioned Paul Dacre's position as head of the committee that draws up the Editors' Code.
Ipso chairman Sir Alan Moses had declined to defend Vickers's role last month when he appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Asked by Labour's Ben Bradshaw if he was concerned about the effect on Ipso's credibility of having Vickers chair the funding body, Moses said: "I can’t speak for him nor am I prepared to defend him. You must put those questions to him...I really don’t think Mr Bradshaw you can use me as a punchball to bounce off your accusations against Mr Vickers. I didn’t appoint him."
The same committee had questioned Vickers about Ipso in June 2013. When asked whether he still believed that Mirror group journalists had not indulged in hacking, he replied: "I should probably preface my answer by saying some of our current journalists have recently been arrested on charges that relate to phone hacking. We have done huge investigations and, to date, we have not found any proof that phone hacking took place."
Vickers left Trinity Mirror in January, after 22 years with the company.
Oborne row may lead to code change
Wednesday 25 February The editors' code of practice may have to be amended in the light of the Peter Oborne allegations that the Daily Telegraph suppressed news stories because they were inconvenient for advertisers, MPs were told yesterday.
Sir Alan Moses told a one-off meeting of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee that he was not yet starting an investigation, but would be seeking information from the paper, which denies the suggestion, and from Oborne (pictured).
The case raised fundamental issues about freedom of editorial and journalistic judgment, without which no newspaper can have credibility, Sir Alan, the chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation said.
He added that the editors' code may have to be altered to underline the importance of the separation between commercial and editorial judgment in journalism, but it was difficult to devise a rule that said you were in breach of something if you failed to publish something.
The editors' code is being reviewed, but those who doubt the credibility of Ipso point to the fact that Mail editor Paul Dacre, who led the Press Complaints Commission's ethics committee, is still in charge of this area.
Sir Alan and Matt Tee, the Ipso chief executive, were appearing before the committee not to discuss the Telegraph, but for an update on progress in establishing a new regulatory system. Sir Alan said: "We are determined to be, for the first time, a regulator. The PCC was not a regulator, it was a complaints handler and we wish to be an independent regulator.”
Peter Oborne quits
Express rapped for distorting poll result
Monday 16 February, 2015 The Daily Express has been censured by Ipso for significantly distorting the findings of an opinion poll to suggest that Ukip was more popular than Labour. The regulator found the paper's website guilty of a serious breach of the Editors' Code relating to accurate news coverage and that it was further guilty of failing to amend the online story once the distortion was pointed out.
The report last November said that 38% of people surveyed by YouGov intended to vote Conservative, 28% Ukip and 25% Labour. But those figures related only to respondents who said they read the Sun. Overall, the poll put Labour in first place with 34% support and Ukip third with 15%.
Ipso said: "The findings of the poll had been perfectly clear, and the newspaper did not provide a satisfactory explanation for the approach it had taken."
It ordered the Express to put the adjudication on its website and to point to it from the home page for at least 48 hours. It did not, however, require the Express to remove the story and it remains online with the original heading as the screenshot taken today shows. Read the full adjudication here
No action over Sky man's MH17 lapse
Monday 6 October The Sky News reporter Colin Brazier was guilty of a significant lapse of judgment when he started sifting through personal belongings in the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, Ofcom said today.
More than 200 people complained that the live report was offensive and the regulator ruled that it had breached its programme code. Ofcom also noted that editorial decisions were particularly challenging in the circumstances and noted that Sky and Brazier had issued apologies. It said it considered the case resolved and that it would take no further action.
Brazier had been seen looking through a suitcase, but after a few moments he returned the items and said: "We shouldn't really be doing this."
Ipso gets down to business
Monday 8 September The Independent Press Standards Organisation started work today with a pledge from chairman Sir Alan Moses that it would be rigorous, fair and transparent. That cut no ice with Kate and Gerry McCann, Milly Dowler's sister and others, who sent Sir Alan a welcoming letter describing the new regulator as a sham that had no credibility. "Ipso is part of the problem of the worst of UK journalism, not part of the solution," they wrote. Most newspapers and magazines have signed up to be regulated by Ipso, with the exception of the FT and the Guardian, which are setting up their own complaints procedures, and the Independent group, which has yet to show its hand
Where standards have been breached we will apply sanctions and seek redress. Where we see patterns of poor behaviour we will pursue change. Democracy depends on a free but fair press. Through independent regulation IPSO will make an important contribution to that vital objective
...and the response....
Government PR man Matt Tee to run Ipso
Thursday 31 July Matt Tee, a civil servant with a history of working in public body PR, is to be the first chief executive of the new press regulator Ipso. Tee, now the NHS Confederation's chief operating officer, was previously permanent secretary, government communication, which involved directing the Central Office of Information. He has also been head of news at the Department of Trade and director general of communications at the Health Department.Sir Alan Moses, the Ipso chairman, said: "Matt has a deep understanding of the complex and sensitive relationship between the press, the public and Government. As a highly experienced CEO and accomplished communicator, he brings a great deal of relevant experience."
Tee said: "A free press is a cornerstone of our democracy. To be effective and credible, IPSO must be independent and free from the control of the press or the state. It will understand the press but be tough when there is wrongdoing."
Ipso says that 90% of newspapers and magazines have chosen to put themselves under its regulatory control. The Guardian and Independent groups have yet to show their hands and the FT is setting up its own ombudsman.
SubScribe See more on Press regulation here
From Milly to Moses, give Ipso a chance
Parliament, Hacked off and self-regulation of the Press
Hillsborough families protest over Bill Newman
Friday 30 May, 2014 Families of victims of the Hillsborough disaster have urged the Ipso appointments panel to rethink its decision to include the former Sun managing editor William Newman on the new regulator's board.
Newman was the paper's ombudsman and the author of a letter to readers angered by a Sun splash in April 1989 that accused fans of hindering the rescue effort. He apologised if the story had caused upset, but stood by its content.
Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: "Mr Newman had a key role in defending the outrageous coverage of the Sun of the Hillsborough disaster and in the abject failure of the newspaper to properly apologise when it was clear they had printed hurtful lies and not 'the truth'. That is why his appointment to the board of the new regulator is totally unacceptable to us and we believe will undermine public confidence in it."
Smoothie entrepreneur and pensions expert join former editors on Ipso board
Wednesday 28 May, 2014
Three former editors have been named as members of the board of the new Press regulator Ipso.
The industry will be represented by Charles Wilson, who edited the Times and went on to become the Mirror Group's managing director; Charles McGhee, former editor of the Glasgow Herald, Keith Perch, latterly of the Leicester Mercury, former Sun managing editor William Newman, and Kevin Hand, the former EMAP chief executive who has just stepped down as chairman of the Professional Publishers Association.
They will be joined by the documentary maker Anne Lapping, the pensions expert Ros Altmann; Rick Hill, chairman of the Consumer Council in Northern Ireland; Sir Tom Phillips, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dame Clare Tickell, who used to run Action for Children, and Richard Reed, one of the founders of Innocent smoothies.
The board will now appoint a chief executive and a 12-strong complaints committee. Ipso is expected to start work in September. The rival regulator Impress, which is backed by JK Rowling, has meanwhile started to look for an appointments panel to recruit a board and has said that it will decide next month whether to seek recognition under the Royal Charter.
"Few people anticipated the bloody-mindedness of the group of men who own and run our biggest newspaper groups. They have raised two fingers to the judge and Parliament and are creating Ipso...
Joan Smith takes helm at Hacked Off
The Independent columnist Joan Smith has been appointed executive director of Hacked Off, in succession to Brian Cathcart. She said: "