We feel the future of this news site, newspaper and all news websites/newspapers across the country are at risk.
For the first time in 300 years, the freedom of the press is in danger with the culture secretary weighing up whether to bring in a new law that will leave nobody to expose scandals ranging from the Rotherham sex grooming cover-up to MPs’ expenses.
It’s a piece of legislation so illiberal, so illogical, it is hard to believe Parliament ever passed it. But it did.
A sure sign of a civilized society is a free press. We would like to stop legislation which would change that and you can show your support towards the bottom of this page.
If you already know about how the freedom of the press is under threat, you can go straight to the consultation form.
What is happening?
A new law has been proposed that, if implemented, means that when someone sues, even if the published article is entirely true, in the public interest and the complaint is thrown out by the courts, any newspaper not signed up to a state-approved regulator will have to pay ALL the costs.
That has the potential to cripple not just the giants of the industry but every local newspaper doing its best to highlight wrongdoing.
Most of our greatest injustices are exposed not by MPs or the police, but by newspapers.
The MPs’ expenses scandal, the Rotherham sex grooming cover-up and the monumental failures over the murder of Stephen Lawrence are just a few of the investigations that would never have been possible if Section 40 was in force.
The Sunday Times says its Lance Armstrong investigation would never have been published if the new law had been in place.
It all falls under Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, rushed into law after the Leveson Inquiry.
In it, any relevant newspaper or news website – whether that be Metro.co.uk, The Guardian, Gizmodo UK or Buzzfeed right through to Tandridge County Border News, Scottish Cycling or anyone else – refusing to join a regulator approved under the Government’s Royal Charter for the Press will be forced to pay the other side’s legal costs, even if they win, when they are sued for libel.
It is mainly funded by the controversial former Formula One boss Max Mosley.
This all comes at a time when newspapers are already under tough regulation through the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which regularly orders corrections and can impose fines of up to £1million.
If you, like us, think this is clearly wrong, you have only a few days to do something about it, with the consultation running until 10 January.
What can be done?
Very sensibly, the culture secretary has launched a consultation.
You can tell the Government this unjust legislation must be repealed, the free press should be maintained and that no money should be wasted on another Leveson Inquiry.
Here’s your step-by-step guide to how you can give your opinion:
Here’s your step-by-step guide for how you can help
- Go to the Consultation On The Leveson Inquiry page
- Scroll down to Respond online and click on the link
- This will direct you to the online survey form or you can just click/tap here
- Page 1 – Introduction. [click ‘Next’ at bottom of page]
- Page 2 – Consultation [tick box ‘Individual’, then ‘Next’ at bottom of the page]
- Page 3 [Unless you are a lawyer or academic, tick box ‘Neither of the above’]
- Page 4 – Which of the following statements do you agree with? (c) Government should ask Parliament to repeal all of Section 40 now; [tick this box]
- Do you have evidence in support of your view, particularly in terms of the impacts on the press industry and claimants? [Fill in with any evidence you may have and tick box ‘Next’ – otherwise tick box ‘No’, then ‘Next’]
- Page 5 – To what extent will full commencement incentivise publishers to join a recognised self-regulator? Please supply evidence. [Fill in with any evidence you may have – otherwise answer ‘It will not’ and tick box ‘Next’]
- Page 6 – Do you believe that the terms of reference of Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry have already been covered by Part 1 and the criminal investigations? [Answer: ‘Yes’ and tick box ‘Next’]
- Page 8 – Which of the two options set out below best represents your views? [Tick box 2: ‘Terminate the inquiry’, then tick box ‘Next’]
- Please indicate below whether or not you have previously submitted an online survey response to this consultation [Tick box 1: ‘No, I HAVE NOT previously submitted an online survey response to this consultation’, then tick box ‘Next’]
- Page 9 [Tick box ‘Done’]
So who regulates Metro and Metro.co.uk now?
Metro.co.uk and 2,600 other news websites, newspapers, and magazines do not believe the Press can be truly free under rules imposed by politicians. We belong to a regulator which is entirely independent of the Government.
Chaired by former Appeal Court Judge Sir Alan Moses, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) regularly orders front page corrections and — if necessary — can impose fines of up to £1 million.
Why not join the state-approved regulator?
Called Impress, it claims to be independent, but is bankrolled by former F1 boss Max Mosley, on a mission to ‘reform’ the Press ever since a newspaper revealed his sado-masochistic orgy with five prostitutes.
It has just a handful of micro-publisher members, some barely more than online blogs. No mainstream news organisation has joined.