Press Freedom Under Attack From Mosley-Backing Lords

Press freedom is once again under attack from cop-thumper Max Mosley’s state-backed sham regulator Impress. Readers will remember MediaGudio’s Impress File, which exposed anti-press bias at the heart of the group hell-bent on financially ruining Britain’s most popular papers. Now a group of peers are promoting Impress’s vendetta in the Lords…

The Data Protection Bill provides an important public interest protection for journalists, shielding them should they have to use limited private information when they are exposing wrongdoing. The protection is especially important for investigative journalism, much-valued by the public. The Bill grants this vital shield to journalists subscribed to the accepted industry standards: the Ofcom code, the BBC Editorial Guidelines, and IPSO Editors’ Code.

But two Lib Dem peers, Lord Clement-Jones and Lord McNally, have tabled an amendment to remove IPSO from that list, thereby threatening to undermine the crucial legal protections enjoyed by the vast majority of Britain’s mainstream newspaper journalists. Clement-Jones, 68, a veteran lobbyist, namechecked Impress in an oral question last year…

Memorably, McNally took the most Government Car Service journeys of any minister under the Coalition government: 818 limo trips, often from parliament to his £1 million home just 30 miles away in St Albans, landing the taxpayer with a bill for £80,000. The free press dubbed his lordship the “limo king”…

Meanwhile, crossbencher Lord Skidelsky wants to add Impress to the list, which would give legal credence to Mosley’s operation, to which only handful of mostly crank outlets have signed-up. Guess who Skidelsky, 78, was best mates with at Oxford? Yep, Max Mosley. During the Mosley scandal, longtime press-critic Skidelsky even wrote a piece asking if there is “too much press freedom”. You couldn’t make it up…

These denizens of the ermined elite – who wouldn’t be recognised in the street by a single member of the reading public – are threatening to use their inordinate influence to hijack the Data Protection Bill and turn it into a media-bashing exercise. Three faceless peers threaten to blunt the free, fair and fearless press consumed by millions of Brits. Just who do they think they are? 

Max Mosley Punches Policeman at Fascist Rally

MediaGuido has found footage of a black-shirted Max Mosley punching a policeman in the face at a fascist rally in the British Pathe news archive. The Impress bankroller, who don’t forget has also donated £200,000 to Tom Watson, was filmed in a 1962 news reel taking part in a violent brawl between his fellow fascists and the police. Now he claims to be a freedom loving philanthropist….

In the news reel above, Mosley clearly throws a flurry of right hooks, connecting with a police officer’s face. The newsreader said: “Sir Oswald’s son Max was among those later arrested”. This is the man behind the new state regulator seeking to gag the British press…

Max Mosley’s Today Programme Porkies

This morning Impress bankroller and spanker-in-chief Max Mosley appeared on the Today programme to claim the regulator is “completely independent of me”. Untrue: Mosley has donated £4 million to Impress. It wouldn’t exist without him.

Mosley explained the sinister Section 40 measure:

“If a newspaper refuses to belong to a recognised regulator then of course if it’s taken to court it will end up paying both sides.”

That “recognised regulator” would be Mosley’s own Impress, which due to its public pronouncements ranting bile and invective against newspapers and journalists, no mainstream newspaper will join. Impress and Section 40 would have newspapers bankrupted by corrupt MPs, dodgy traders, and c-list celebs pursuing vexatious cases free-of-charge…

Cheap and accessible out-of-court arbitration is already available through a pilot-scheme run by current regulator IPSO, a key Leveson recommendation implemented. IPSO also has the power to fine newspapers up to £1 million through its parallel complaints and mediation process, force them to print its adjudications and dictate the wording of corrections. Mosley then stoked calls for Leveson II:

“It’s no good pretending a few criminal trials revealed what was really going on, it didn’t.”

By “a few criminal trials” Mosley means jack-booted probe Operation Elveden, the failed crusade against popular newspapers. Elveden coppers dragged 34 innocent journalists from their beds at dawn to the dock without resulting in a single conviction, costing the taxpayer £15 million. Mosley’s Today interview was as honest as his regulator is impartial…

Impress Regulators Say They “Hate” Daily Mail “Scum”

Parts one and two of MediaGuido’s Impress File told how the state-endorsed press regulator wants to ban the Daily Mail and financially ruin the Sun and Express. Today we bring you part three, revealing that senior figures at Impress have a pathological hatred of the newspapers they want to regulate. 

Paul Wragg is a legal academic at Leeds University and member of Impress’ Code Committee. He has shared a tweet saying: “I don’t know whether I exactly love Britain but I do know that I hate the Daily Mail”, adding in his own words: “I couldn’t agree more.” How can Impress reasonably regulate the newspaper industry when one of its most senior officials says he hates one of its most popular newspapers?

Likewise, Máire Messenger Davies – Impress Code Committee and Board of Directors member – openly spouts hatred of the Mail. She has promoted social media posts calling the Mail “Total scum” and its editor Paul Dacre “evil“. Her unhinged attacks on Dacre are personal in nature: she shared a mock up of a Mail front page with a picture of the editor next to the headline “This Hate Preacher Must be Stopped”. Why has the government given recognition to this bunch of cranks? It is demonstrably clear that the state press regulator is not fit for purpose…

Impress Regulators Seek to Financially Ruin Three Papers

The second instalment of MediaGuido’s Impress File reveals attempts by the state-endorsed press regulator to financially ruin three newspapers. Several senior figures at Impress support the so-called Stop Funding Hate (SFH) campaign to boycott advertising in the popular press. SFH’s stated aim is to “take on the divisive hate campaigns of the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express by persuading advertisers to pull their support”. It wants to prevent newspapers from “making money by publishing these headlines”. SFH is bullying advertisers to censor or bankrupt the three centre-right newspapers read by millions of Britons.

Impress CEO Jonathan Heawood is a vocal supporter and campaigner on behalf of SFH. He has promoted social media posts from SFH aggressively targeting Boots and HSBC into removing ads from MailOnline. He has a pinned tweet in support of an advertising boycott of the Mail. He has shared an SFH article summing up their approach to free speech: “Voltaire… never said I will defend to the death your right to get advertising revenue”.

Impress board member and chair of its code committee Marie Messenger Davies also regularly expresses support for the SFH campaign. Davies has repeatedly promoted posts calling for an advertising boycott of the Mail in particular. Emma Jones, a member of the Impress board and code committee, also regularly promotes SFH Impress actively campaigns to bankrupt three newspapers – how can it possibly be a fair and balanced regulator of the press?

The Daily Mail and MailOnline have a readership of 23 million a month, The Sun is the most-read newspaper in Britain. Latest figures show the Express is growing online by 16% year-on-year. Millions of free-thinking readers choose to read these publications every day, SFH is an cabal of so-called ‘liberals’ trying to shut down the right-of-centre popular press. This raises serious questions for the government: how can Impress possibly be a fair and even-handed regulator when key figures within Impress are campaigning to ruin several newspapers? Regulators would not be allowed to behave in this way in any other industry…



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Quote of the Day

Former public schoolboy Chuka Umunna told the  ‘Exit From Brexit Dinner’…

“Remainians, Remoaners, I don’t care what the label is, I’m proud. It’s fashionable to label everyone in this room as the liberal metropolitan elite . . . This caricature is promoted by a bunch of former public schoolboys!” 

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