Category Archives: Reviews

Who guards the guards – IPSO- Press regulator or complaints handler?

Last month saw the publication of a new report from University of Westminster which reveals for the first time how the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) the press regulator which covers most of the UK’s largest print and online publishers, was set up largely as a predetermined industry plan rather than as a response to the Leveson Inquiry which reported in November 2012, (and see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/leveson-inquiry-report-into-the-culture-practices-and-ethics-of-the-press

It also reveals how a last-minute wording change, introduced by those publishers behind IPSO’s launch, effectively removed IPSO’s ability to launch a standards investigation or impose sanctions.

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Failing to defend press standards

The other day I came across a surprising quotation from Sir Alan Moses (see below in paragraph 5).  He was the first head of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the latest incarnation of what passes for a UK press regulator. Ipso came into being following the conclusion of the first part of the Leveson Inquiry, the judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press which followed the News International ‘phone hacking scandal. Leveson 2 was intended to examine relationships between journalists and the police. It was scrapped by the government in March 2018.

Set up in 2011 the inquiry held a series of public hearings during 2011 and 2012. Even Rupert Murdoch found time to attend, in April 2012 and you can read a very interesting account of his evidence reported by Nick Davies at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/apr/25/rupert-murdoch-planned-leveson-inquiry

Sir Alan headed up Ipso from 2014 leaving at the end of 2019.

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An Inspector Calls

The other week I watched for the second time the 2015 TV film An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley, based on a play that revolves around the apparent suicide of a young woman called Eva Smith. As was the case when I first saw it, I found it gripping from beginning to end and that’s not just because it was filmed in Yorkshire and featured one of my favourite locations, Salt’s Mill in Saltaire Village, near Bradford.

It is set in 1912 when the unsuspecting and very wealthy Birling family are visited by a mysterious Inspector Goole.  The family is headed by pompous factory owner Arthur Birling, who is hoping to get a knighthood, his snobbish wife Sybil and young son Eric who are celebrating the engagement of daughter Sheila to eligible Gerald Croft (rich, privileged and a member of the aristocracy), when the inspector calls.

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