Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief at the Daily Mail, has resigned from his position as chair of a committee that governs journalists code of conduct, ahead of a key government review into press regulation, in order to focus his energies on his day job.
Launching a scathing parting shot at "so-called liberals" backing state regulation as he announced his departure, Dacre’s announcement brings his tenure at the helm of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) to a close at a time of great change for the body.
This includes a review recommendation that committee members should serve no more than two, three year terms in post in tandem with a further public consultation on how the body can be improved.
Dacre was also outspoken in his criticisms of rival regulator Impress, decrying the organisation as a "joke body" with particular venom reserved for its principle financial backer. Dacre said: "I still have to pinch myself that we live in a country in which the government’s press regulator is financed by Max Mosley and that papers who refuse to sign up to it will not only face punitive damages in libel courts but could be forced to pay a claimant’s costs even if the article concerned is entirely true and the paper wins its case.
"Which is why my contempt for those so-called liberals who insidiously conspire to manacle press freedom is only matched by my admiration for those in our industry who strive to preserve it."
Dacre also highlighted inconsistency in the policing of print media and publishers' sites in comparison to the wild west of internet journalism, describing these contradictions as a "bitter irony".