RELEASE DATE: 25 October 2013
THE chairman of an important House of Lords committee has today criticised the lack of debate over the royal charter to regulate the press, saying it has bypassed Parliament and is ‘undemocratic.’
Lord Inglewood, who chairs the Lords select committee on communications, has written to Culture Secretary Maria Miller to ask for a full debate in the Commons.
He adds: “Procedures being proposed appear to be ‘inconsistent with our parliamentary and democratic traditions. Given the constitutional importance of the freedom of the press, and the political topicality and controversy surrounding this subject, we do not feel anything less than a full debate on the final text is appropriate.”
Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Professional Practices Board of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, welcomed the news: “We are delighted that an important figure such as Lord Inglewood, has stepped in to this process.
“We now join with Lord Inglewood in calling for the proposed sealing of the royal charter on October 30 to be delayed to allow for a full Parliamentary debate to take place.
“We have been campaigning against statutory regulation of the press since it was first raised and have always been against the charter proposals, which are just a back-door method of regulation.
“To put vital press freedoms in the hands of a non-elected body which is not accountable to Parliament has always seemed to us a dangerous path to go down.”
She added: “The CIoJ has given evidence to the House of Lords on the importance of press freedom and we are pleased to see the Communications Committee is taking the matter seriously.”
Contact: Amanda Brodie MCIJ
Chairman, Professional Practices Board,
Mobile: 0777 5992563
Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth. Website: www.cioj.co.uk