UK: Opinion poll backs media’s rejection of Royal Charter for press regulation

Editor Terry Hunt

Editor Terry Hunt

POLITICIANS should not have the final say on changes to the way the press is regulated, according to the results of an opinion poll.

The survey, carried out after the newspaper industry rejected the Government’s plans for a Royal Charter, also revealed that members of the public feel they should be consulted on any changes.

The industry published its own proposal, an Independent Royal Charter, earlier this week to create a tough and independent new system of self regulation.

The opinion poll was carried out at the weekend and 67% of people said politicians should not have the final say on if and when changes will be made to press regulation.

Denying the public a say on the matter was supported by 12% of the people polled, while 76% said they wanted to be consulted on the structure of a Royal Charter.

The poll also revealed that 54% of the public want a new tough system of press regulation set in place as soon as possible, which will only be possible under the Independent Charter.

Terry Hunt, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, said: “It is an Independent Royal Charter which will guarantee Britain remains the home of free speech. It will deliver what Lord Leveson called for.

Most Read

“Politicians must accept this compromise solution or they will be culpable in threatening a regional press which millions of people rely on for news that is clear, truthful and unhindered by vested interests.”

Damian Lyons Lowe, chief executive of Survation, the company that carried out the poll, added: “The public are clear that a new system of tough, industry-financed press regulation is desired.

“Seventy-six per cent want be consulted on the structure of the Royal Charter and only 16% want politicians to have the final say if changes need to be made in future.”

National, regional and local newspapers were involved in the Independent Royal Charter, which would implement a number of measures including tougher sanctions and public involvement in framing the Code of Practice.