The first Chair of the new press regulation body established by the industry in response to the Lord Justice Leveson enquiry has been named.
The Rt Hon Sir Alan Moses has been appointed as the first Chair of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). He was the unanimous choice of the independent Selection Panel chaired by Sir Hayden Phillips.
The appointment comes shortly after the newly appointed Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced he believed the government had no further role in the matter of regulating the press.
In a recent interview he described the British press as:“the best in the world – fearless without favour.”
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is planned to start work in June. Unlike the Press Complaints Commission which preceded it, IPSO is a described as a tough new regulator which has strong legal powers, has the ability to undertake investigations into serious breakdowns in standards and then apply sanctions, and is independent from the publishing industry.
IPSO was created as the press industry’s own regulatory body as opposed to the Royal Charter pushed through by the Government and widely condemned by members of the press.
Sir Alan’s career has been in the law and he has served as a Lord Justice of Appeal since 2005. His focus has been on administrative law and he has been a member of the Court of Appeal in a number of cases relating to the press and freedom of expression. As a High Court judge he presided over criminal and civil cases in the public eye.
As a barrister he was an expert in tax appeals and cases concerning the interception of communications by the Security Services, and in cases concerning contempt of court. He conducted two of the biggest prosecutions for Customs and Excise for breach of an arms embargo, including the Matrix Churchill case, which led to the Scott Enquiry. Outside his legal career, Sir Alan is also Chairman of Spitalfields Music, a charity providing two festivals a year and music education for pupils and those of all ages in Tower Hamlets. He was an external member of the Council of the Royal Academy of Arts for 6 years, taking part in the management of the Academy.
Sir Alan will now join the IPSO Selection Panel to appoint the rest of the Board, with a view to IPSO being formally established by June. Sir Alan will be available for interviews when this selection process has been completed.
Sir Hayden Phillips, Chairman of the independent panel selecting the Chair and Board Members of IPSO, said: “ Sir Alan’s qualities meet all of the criteria my Panel judged were most relevant in appointing a Chair. He is person of experience and integrity, of independence and vigour, and also personable, approachable, and always open to consider new ideas. With his reputation for being quick, forthright and fearless I believe that not only is he someone on whom the public can depend to tackle abuses by newspapers where they occur,( using the considerable new powers that will be vested in IPSO), but someone who also believes firmly in independent self- regulation of the press and in the vital democratic role of a free press in a free society.
Sir Alan commented: “The public and the press are entitled to a successful system of independent regulation. I recognise it is a big responsibility to achieve this. I believe that such a system should be designed to protect the public against a repetition of the breakdown in standards in some parts of the newspaper industry in recent times. At the same time it should affirm and encourage the vital role of a free and fearless press.
“I shall do my best to guide the development of clear, simple but fair rules in an area where there are difficult questions and there are no easy answers. But I am determined that there should be no hesitation in dealing with bad practice by newspapers and providing support and vindication for those who suffer as a result of any future breakdown. “This new organisation will have to listen to and learn from the Press and their critics in the period ahead. To those who have voiced doubts as to the ability of IPSO to meet the demands of independent regulation, I say that I have spent over forty years pursuing the profession of barrister and judge whose hallmarks are independent action and independent judgment. I do not intend to do away with that independence now.
Sir Hayden Phillips is chairing an independent panel to select a Chair and Board for IPSO, the new regulator of the press. His fellow committee members are Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood , Dame Denise Platt, Paul Horrocks and John Witherow.
Bob Satchwell, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said: “Sir Alan Moses clearly has impeccable credentials and experience in dealing with self-regulation. The way he handled the difficult issues in the Soham murder trial showed that he knows how to balance the sometimes competing interests of justice, victims and the media as the conduit to the public.
“He was appointed by an open and independent process and his CV shows that neither the public nor the Press need have concerns about his reputation for fearless independence and integrity. It will be up to Sir Alan and his new board to build a similar reputation for IPSO.”
Ian Murray, Editor of the Southern Daily Echo and current President of the Society of Editors added: “With the appointment of Sir Alan and the recent comments from the new Secretary of State for Culture, it does appear that we are well on the way to a strong consensus of opinion that will enable a strong, free, vibrant and, just as importantly, a responsible pres to continue to flourish in this country. This is only to be welcomed.”