Royal Charter proposals hit crisis as The Spectator refuses to sign up and Private Eye's Hislop speaks out

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

March 19, 2013 | 3 min read

Government proposals for a royal charter on press regulation are heading for crisis point as The Spectator confirmed it will refuse to sign and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop said he would "rather take his chances in court".

No: The Spectator will not sign up to the government proposals

The Guardian and Independent are so far the only national titles to indicate that they will back the charter, while Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, said: "We have not decided at the Financial Times whether we are going to join up with the new regulator." The Telegraph and News International have cited "deeply contentious issues" within it and are seeking legal advice. The Mirror Group said they "had serious reservations" about the proposals.

Hislop said in an interview with the BBC: "This isn't just pleading, this isn't just the Daily Mail and the Sun saying 'leave us alone'. There are some very respected voices saying 'freedom of the press is important and this does threaten it'."

Meanwhile, Lord Puttnam spoke publicly for the first time on press regulation since the proposals were announced: "We’re dealing with an old-fashioned mindset. Editors are used to being kings in castles. The last king to request special treatment was Charles I, and that didn’t do his health a lot of good.

"There is a problem more sinister than the issues surrounding the Leveson inquiry and that's that even the greatest judiciary can't stand up against collusion when it's between the police and the press. It prevents democracy."

Yesterday, former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Lilley urged newspapers to boycott the new system, which was agreed between the main political parties in a last minute deal on Monday.


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