(c) Steve Bell 2014
But Alan Moses and his staff have held firm, even pretending at one stage that IPSO would at some time in the future become Leveson compliant. As they have not applied for recognition under the terms of the cross-party Royal Charter, that compliance will not be happening any time soon. Nor will any justification for the claim “World’s toughest press regulation”, made by many IPSO supporters, which is therefore meaningless drivel.
Such is the worryingly low level of confidence in IPSO - a poll showed it as having the support of 17% of the public a year ago, and it’s no better now - the Independent (which has, along with the Guardian titles and the FT, not joined IPSO) has reported “The new regulator created by Britain’s newspaper industry has failed to convince the public that it is up the job of acting as a credible and independent watchdog, according to a new survey”.
There’s more: “asked if Ipso should continue to regulate the UK newspaper and magazine industry, or if another organisation that met the requirements set out by Lord Justice Leveson at the end of the Leveson inquiry in 2012 should be brought in, a majority in the survey favoured closing Ipso and replacing it … The YouGov survey found 66 per cent having not much or no confidence in a non-Leveson compliant regulator”.
Why that should be, despite the barrage of pro-IPSO and anti-Leveson propaganda churned out by, especially, the Mail and the Sun, is not hard to see. The Mail is getting away with demonising refugees by making untrue or misleading claims about them, the Sun gets away with Katie Hopkins’ “cockroaches” remark because she aimed it at a group, and IPSO refuses to take group complaints, and the same paper got away with using the wrong photo to identify a murder suspect and thereby smeared an innocent man.
Campaigning group Hacked Off have two further examples of ordinary members of the public who have been wrongly accused of being murder suspects. One might expect IPSO to at least reprimand papers making such mistakes. They do not. And then there is the case of Andy Miller, who asked for no more than an apology from the Daily Mail, but had to fight a lengthy libel case, which the paper fought all the way (he won).
Even Dominic Ponsford of Press Gazette, which is regulated by IPSO, says that “as a regulator which was supposed to clear out the Augean stables after the debacle of the hacking scandal, I would have to give it a fail”. This morning, Hacked Off will be marking IPSO’s year of failure in a suitable way. And Zelo Street will be there.