What Is The British Press’s Royal Charter?

November 15, 2013 in Daily Bulletin


After a series of scandals including the hacking of a murdered schoolgirl’s cell phone by the News of the World, a Royal Charter has been drawn up to keep the press in check. But what exactly does it mean?

  • A Royal Charter is technically approved by the Privy Council, but as the days of monarchical rule are gone, this is merely a formality.
  • The big difference is that any changes to a Royal Charter have to be approved by a 2/3 majority in parliament instead of a mere majority; making the Charter much harder to alter.
  • Unlike the Royal Charter’s predecessor, the charter would create a new regulator who would be able to issue fines of up to £1m ($1.61m)
  • Press organisations would not be forced to sign up, and if they don’t then complaints against them would go to court instead of to the Charter’s regulator. But in this case papers can expect to pay complainants costs even if the press wins the case.
  • Third parties will also be able to complain about articles. If a paper makes a sweeping generalisation about Muslims, then Muslim organisations can complain to the regulator. But so can anyone else, for free, a move that newspapers are saying may lead to excessive complaints.

The article is in depth and takes perspectives from both government sources and journalists, as well as having links to the stories that caused the Charter to come into being. Read more over here

Source: BBC