New MST report – on Lord Black plan for press reform

Media Standards Trust


Posted by Media Standards Trust

Not new, not independent and likely to damage journalistic freedom
Says new report on press’ plan for reform of self-regulation

The Lord Black Plan for Reform of Press Self-Regulation: A Short Critique pdf

  • 10 serious failings identified in Black plan for reform of press self-regulation
  • News organisations can effectively buy themselves out of the contract before 5 years
  • Plan maintains dominance of key vested interests

A new report by the Media Standards Trust identifies 10 serious failings in the plans put forward by Lord Black of Brentwood for reform of press self-regulation.

10 failings:

  1. It is not a ‘new system entirely’
  2. It is not independent
  3. It maintains the dominance of the key vested interests
  4. The incentives to participate will damage journalistic freedom
  5. A news organisation can effectively buy itself out of the contract
  6. It is unwieldy, bureaucratic, and significantly under-costed
  7. Its powers of sanction are limited and unspecified
  8. Third parties will find it as hard, if not harder, to complain
  9. It remains mediation not regulation
  10. It has a 5 year sell-by date

This is the first time these plans have been held up to detailed public scrutiny. To date, there has been virtually no open examination of them – though The Guardian and Northern and Shell have made critical submissions to the Inquiry and aspects of the plan have been commented on. This despite the fact that the chief newspaper organisations aim to put Lord Black’s proposals into practice whatever Lord Justice Leveson recommends.

The report is published on Monday 19th November.  For further information please contact or

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