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Not Impressed

More on Impress, the state-approved press regulator.

According to Ian Burrell, writing for iNews yesterday:

It has been a devastating week for those campaigning for tougher regulation of the press and, most of all, for the privacy campaigner and former Formula 1 chief Max Mosley.

I have interviewed Mosley at his home near London’s Hyde Park and found him pleasant company and an engaging spokesman for victims of press harassment. But his standing and credibility are weaker now due to disclosures by the Daily Mail about his political past and his own response to those revelations.

The story is bad news for Impress, the only press regulator recognised by a Royal Charter set up after the Leveson Inquiry. It was created with £3.8m from Mosley’s family charity. Some small publishers signed to Impress are now reconsidering their relationship with the regulator.

They include Skwawkbox, a 'pro-Corbyn' blog. According to the Press Gazette:

Skwawkbox is among a handful of publishers regulated by Impress who have said they are considering cutting ties with the press watchdog following Daily Mail revelations about Max Mosley.

The independent left-wing website’s editor, Steve Walker, told Press Gazette: “Our membership of Impress is under review but no decision has been taken.”

Ironically Skwawkbox is no stranger to controversy itself. In November The Times reported:

An influential pro-Corbyn blog can be called a publisher of fake news, according to a ruling from the [rival] press watchdog [Ipso].

Skwawkbox, which has links to left-wing Labour MPs, published an article that “endorsed the credibility” of false rumours that the real death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire was covered up.

The article cited “multiple sources” claiming that the government had placed a D-notice on coverage and said that “every instinct is screaming” that the allegation was true.

The D-notice system, now known as the DSMA-notice system, is a voluntary code between the government and media organisations to prevent disclosure of information that could undermine security or put lives at risk.

The system was not used after the Grenfell fire.

On December 28 the Huffington Post reported:

A popular pro-Corbyn blog has been accused of the “deeply sinister bullying” of a female Labour MP after it criticised her for attending a gig with a Conservative counterpart.

The report included this tweet by Michael Dugher, former Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport:

With supporters like Skwawkbox who needs enemies?

Then again, how does an alt-left blog square its support for Impress with the fact that the press regulator is backed by money from a Mosley family trust?

What a mess.

Anyway, as of this morning, Skwawkbox is still a member of Impress and Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, is still on the board of Impress.

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