Search

Newspaper editors call on MPs to reject curbs to press freedom in Data Protection Bill

PUBLISHED: 08:51 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:15 09 May 2018

Free The Press logo. Picture: News Media Association

Free The Press logo. Picture: News Media Association

Archant

Senior editors from across the regional newspaper industry have joined forces to urge MPs to vote against press freedom curbs in the Data Protection Bill today.

Matt Kelly. Pic: ArchantMatt Kelly. Pic: Archant

Matt Kelly, chief content officer of this newspaper’s publisher Archant, was one of several senior editorial figures who have spoken out against the amendments by Tom Watson MP, deputy leader of the Labour Party, and Ed Miliband MP, which would bring costs sanctions into force and kick off a sprawling and costly inquiry into all the media.

Mr Miliband’s amendment would establish a new statutory inquiry into all media organisations, drawing in all broadcast, print or online media and journalists and inevitably resulting in more measures damaging to free speech.

Mr Watson wants to introduce draconian Section 40 costs sanctions into the data protection regime, requiring publishers to pay all the claimants’ costs of legal actions brought against them as well as their own, win or lose. Despite modifications purporting to exempt local papers, the cost sanctions would still impact on 85 per cent of the local press.

Archant’s Matt Kelly said: “We are deeply concerned by the effect the Section 40 costs sanctions and proposed inquiry would have on our business. MPs must stand up for the local newspapers and local democracy by decisively rejecting both measures today.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of industry body News Media Association has said attempts to use the data protection regime to stifle freedom of speech pose a grave threat to local newspaper journalism which does so much good in our society.

Speaking to journalists during a visit to local newspapers in Chichester, chairman David Dinsmore praised local papers “as a force for good in our society” but warned of the dangers if MPs fail to reject the Data Protection Bill amendments.

David said: “Next week is Local Newspaper Week, when we will all be celebrating the power of local newspapers to make a real difference to the communities they serve. It is deeply ironic then that, today, in the run up to the Week, our elected representatives in the House of Commons are set to consider amendments which would cripple local and national newspapers.

“It is essential that they are resisted. Press freedom is already at an all-time low in this country and these further restrictions would irreversibly damage freedom of speech in this country.”

In an anonymous survey of local newspaper editors conducted by the News Media Association, 92 per cent of respondents said they did not think another “Leveson-style” inquiry into the media should take place with the remaining eight per cent saying they weren’t sure. Not one of the 68 survey respondents thought the inquiry should go ahead.

Latest Romford News Stories

Christmas, the time of year when we are pressured to buy things no one wants for people we don’t want to buy for at prices we’re not happy with.

Yesterday, 11:38

Police tasered a man in Collier Row after he threatened officers with a meat cleaver.

Yesterday, 10:00

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Yesterday, 08:00

The discovery that a man who had been jailed for using his position as a police officer to prey on vulnerable women could have been allowed to work at Queen’s hospital without a compulsory background check is worrying both for staff and patients.

Fri, 17:05

A market trader from Newbury Park has been found guilty of torching a £260,000 Ferrari during an arson attack in Emerson Park that was revenge for a business deal gone wrong.

Fri, 16:18

Two of the three teenagers accused of taking part in a fatal knife attack which killed a 15-year-old outside a party in Collier Row have claimed they played no role in the incident.

Fri, 16:00

Whether visiting friends and family or going for that bargain in the sales, the rail network helps a lot of people to get around over the festive period.

Fri, 15:41

A Brentwood school has taken the Christmas crown in the annual Deck the Mall competition at the Liberty Shopping Centre thanks to one special pupil.

PROMOTED CONTENT

From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now