British Press Ask Court to Halt ’Irrational’ Regulation Plan
By Kit Chellel – Oct 30, 2013 8:12 AM ET
Representatives of the British newspaper industry asked a London court to stop new rules governing the press from being implemented to give them time to challenge the proposals.
The Press Standards Board of Finance is seeking an injunction to prevent the rules from being handed to the Queen’s advisers, the Privy Council, for approval this afternoon. The process has been “wholly unfair and irrational” and “has the potential to profoundly affect the nature of press regulation,” the group’s lawyers said in court documents.
The U.K.’s main political parties agreed to a so-called Royal Charter to create a newspaper complaints body. The move followed a yearlong inquiry by Judge Brian Leveson into the industry after a phone-hacking scandal that led to the closing of News Corp. (NWSA)’s News of the World tabloid.
The Press Standards board told a panel of judges at a hearing today that newspapers weren’t properly consulted. Its members oppose the Royal Charter because of it doesn’t want government control of the media and is seeking a legal review of the plans.
The application is “an attempt to re-argue issues that were considered at great length by Sir Brian Leveson,” the government’s lawyers said in court documents. The Royal Charter contains safeguards against government interference and should proceed to the Privy Council for approval today, they said.
The U.K. government on Oct. 8 rejected the alternative plans proposed by the press for a system of self-regulation, saying it would lack independence from newspapers.
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