MPs urged to vote down measures which could damage the local press
- Credit: PA
Editors, including of this newspaper, are urging MPs to reject what they call anti-press amendments in the Data Protection Bill due to be discussed in Parliament tomorrow.
They say the changes, as well as triggering a new statutory inquiry into all media organisations, including local newspapers, would introduce “draconian costs sanctions” into data protection.
That, they say, would require publishers to pay the claimants’ costs of legal actions brought against them, as well as their own, weather the claimant wins or loses - harming the ability of local newspapers to carry out investigative reporting,
And editors say, despite modifications purporting to exempt local papers, the cost sanctions would still impact on 85 per cent of the local press.
The proposals are similar to those contained in Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which culture secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has refused to implement.
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Following the Leveson inquiry, newspapers such as this one, are regulated by press watchdog IPSO, financed by member publishers.
But proponents of the section 40 changes say newspapers should agree to be regulated by the privately-financed Impress, or to set up another independent regulator.
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And Matt Kelly, chief content officer of Archant, which publishes the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star among other titles, has called for MPs to reject the amendments tabled by Labour’s Ed Miliband and Tom Watson.
He said “We are deeply concerned by the effect the Section 40 costs sanctions and proposed inquiry would have on our business.
“MPs must stand up for the local newspapers and local democracy by decisively rejecting both measures on Wednesday.”
Brad Jones, who edits the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, and David Powles, editor of the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, have written to the region’s MPs urging them not to vote for the amendments to the bill.