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 Barking and Dagenham Stories

40 minutes ago

Murder and mistaken identity muddy the line between good and evil in an NHS worker’s debut novel.

The NR F1 Podcast reviews the 2018 Formula 1 season – with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes top of the pile, plus some exiting developments awaiting in 2019.

Yesterday, 13:01

Three teenagers have been stabbed in a street fight in Dagenham in the early hours of this morning.

Yesterday, 09:00

Politicians and community leaders shared their views on challenging disorder, racism and crime at an event in Dagenham.

Yesterday, 08:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

First-half goals from Snodgrass and Antonio settle matters for Hammers

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Barking made the long trip back from Bury St Edmunds empty-handed after a slender defeat on Saturday.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

FA Trophy: Ebbsfleet United 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

PROMOTED CONTENT

The Exchange in Ilford has added a state-of-the-art, Savannah-themed play area, with hand painted animal sculptures, to its brand new family zone, designed by American creative agency Playtime

Are you aged over 25 and an unpaid carer? If you want to return to employment but need practical help and support to get there, Working for Carers can help.

Everest Estates stress-free service guarantees a fixed income for your East London or Essex property every month, even if no one is currently living there. Here they talk about the scheme and explain how it can help you dodge common letting headaches.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now