Poll: 96% of British Public Reject State-Backed Press Regulator Impress

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By Kieran Corcoran | 8:09 am, January 4, 2017

96% of the British public oppose the state-backed press regulator Impress, on the grounds that it is funded by a single super-wealthy donor.

An overwhelming majority of people in the UK said that any body given power over the media should have to get its money in a different way.

The results are a stinging rebuke to Impress, which is backed by the millionaire Max Mosley, who has pursued a vendetta against the popular press since being caught conducting an orgy by the now-defunct News of the World.

The survey, conducted by pollsters YouGov, also found that only 1% of people think that press regulation should be a Government priority. The results can be viewed in full here.

Mosley, who has given some £4million to Impress via two charities, is a vocal supporter of changes in British law he hopes would compel newspapers to use Impress instead of their own systems of regulation.

The UK Government is currently considering whether to activate a new law which would force publications to pay enormous legal fees when taken to court – even if they win the case.

Editors and industry figures have warned that the change would open the door for powerful figures to intimidate the media by launching spurious, expensive lawsuits which publications themselves would have to fund.

And even without direct threats, the new rules would likely cause publications to think twice before pursuing powerful figures or unearthing wrongdoing.

The same poll – commissioned by the News Media Association, which opposes the change – found that 49% of respondents favour a model funded by members of the press themselves.

This is already in place under the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which oversees most of the press, including the Times, Sun, Daily Mail, Telegraph and most of the regional and local press.

The survey also presented 16 possible priorities for the Government, and asked respondents to pick up to four.

The top results were Brexit (53%), health (48%), immigration (45%) and the economy (44%). Press regulation, with 1% support, was last.