Newspaper publishers urged to adopt Royal Charter by 100 leading thinkers

By John Glenday | Reporter

November 29, 2013 | 2 min read

Newspaper publishers have been urged to embrace press reform by way of a royal charter by a group of 100 leading thinkers from the world of the arts, science, culture, education and law.

The signed declaration gives support to the victims of press intrusion and bears the signatures of figures such as broadcaster Stephen Fry, Prof. Richard Dawkins and film director Terry Gilliam.

Masterminded by the campaign group Hacked Off, which has been championing greater oversight of the press, the letter said: “We believe that a free press is a cornerstone of democracy. It should be fearless in exposing corruption, holding the powerful to account and championing the powerless. It has nothing to lose, and can only be enhanced, by acknowledging unethical practice in its midst and acting firmly to ensure it is not repeated.

“We also believe that editors and journalists will rise in public esteem when they accept a form of self-regulation that is independently audited on the lines recommended by Lord Justice Leveson and laid down in the royal charter of 30 October 2013.

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“It is our view that this charter safeguards the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable. That is why we support it and that is why we urge newspaper publishers to embrace it."

Newspaper editors remain adamant however that any embrace of a royal charter would threaten free expression through political interference.

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