The findings of new report White Supremacism, the press, and the absence of regulation reveal the terrifying price we pay for IPSO’s failure. False stories about Muslims and immigrants, recklessly published by papers that know IPSO will never hold them accountable, are being routinely exploited as hate propaganda by violent white supremacist groups – the very groups which, police say, represent the greatest threat to the safety and security of our country.
These false stories aren’t arguable cases or legitimate ‘free speech’. They are cruel and harmful falsehoods – published without any proper regard for the harm they cause. And IPSO, owned and controlled by the very newspapers it is supposed to regulate, does nothing to stop them. Its code says papers must not publish inaccurate material, but it has neither the will nor the power to enforce this and never takes action to deal with repeated and systematic breaches of the code.
We need to call time – for the sake of the minorities who bear the brunt of extremist hate crime, but also for the sake of civilised society. Newspapers need to know they are not free to publish falsehoods without consequence.
There are far better ways of managing this, and they do not mean gagging responsible journalism.
To protect the public, to defend the victims of press abuse and ensure the safety and well being of minority communities, IPSO must be replaced by a regulator that is truly independent of both the press industry and the government – as recommended in the Leveson Report.
Apsana Begum MP | Prof Natalie Fenton | Prof Julian Petley | John McDonnell MP | Prof Brian Cathcart | Clive Lewis MP | Institute of Race Relations | Muslim Council of Britain | Media Reform Coalition | MEND | Prof Jonathan Hardy | John Cleese | Prof David Chadwick | Lord John Hendy QC | Prof Patrick Boylan | Prof Mark Hobart | Peter Reid | Prof Alan Robins | Prof Tom O'Malley | Prof John McTulloch | Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (North) | Prof Gwyneth Boswell | Prof David Denning | Prof John Russell | Prof Hugh Burkhardt | Prof Richard Pike | Prof Bryn Davis | Prof Neil Spurway | Prof Marion Roberts