Monday, 6 May 2013

Regulation of the media ~ Alternative draft for a Royal Charter

In a post of 25th March the plans for media regulation were considered.  At the time it looked as though the proposed Royal Charter would be approved by the Privy Council on 15th May.  It is now reported that this will be delayed whilst an alternative draft Royal Charter is considered.  The alternative document has been drawn up by News International, Telegraph Media Group, Associated Newspapers, Trinity Mirror and Express Newspapers  - see The Guardian Draft alternative royal charter on press regulation.

A key concern is that the original draft charter placed amendment fully in the hands of politicians and therefore was seen as eroding media independence.  


Art. 9.2 of the original reads:

Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (in whole or in part) a provision of this Charter (“proposed change”) can take effect a draft of the proposed change must have been laid before Parliament, and approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at least two thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.

Art. 9.2 of the alternative reads:

Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (in whole or in part) a provision of this Charter ('proposed' change') can take effect, the following must each have passed unanimously a resolution in favour of the proposed change, in each case at a meeting duly convened for that purpose:

a) the members of the Recognition Panel; and
b) the members of the Board of any recognised regulator; and
c) the members of the Board of all trade associations represented on the Industry Funding Body.

That's an awful lot of unanimity !  The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act section 96 would also apply:

Where a body is established by Royal Charter after 1 March 2013 with functions relating to the carrying on of an industry, no recommendation may be made to Her Majesty in Council to amend the body’s Charter or dissolve the body unless any requirements included in the Charter on the date it is granted for Parliament to approve the amendment or dissolution have been met.

Read the articles in HoldTheFrontPage 26th April and Daily Mail 25th April

The following appeared in the Daily Mail article: 


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