The Observer’s first editorial since the signing of the Royal Charter on press regulation has confirmed that the title will not sign up to the Charter, which it described as a “dud” idea.
The editorial followed broader industry reaction earlier in the week following the Charter’s acceptance at the Privy Council and called for an end to the “impasse” on press regulation.
The editorial stated: “It’s a dud idea and one that amplifies the weaknesses in Sir Brian Leveson’s approach. It’s appendix detailing who and who isn’t a ‘relevant publisher’ within its ambit is quill-pen stuff in an era of sweeping digital change."
It added: “There are solid reasons to fear the Royal Charter we have, but will not join.”
The Observer when on to say that the press industry’s alternative regulatory body, Ipso, had not gained the public's trust and warned that the press should not be sanguine, pointing out that the industry had also failed to get major titles – including The Observer – on board.
However, the paper went on to say: “But the plain fact is that, on point after point, Ipso is not terribly far away from what Sir Brian Leveson intended, and it might not be incapable of ticking all of his important boxes if, at last, the principals can meet face to face.”
The title cited the recent revelations by sister paper the Guardian about spying and surveillance carried out by the NSA as the kind of investigative journalism that could be affected by any form of state involvement in press regulation.