Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Section 40 nothing more than a Bully’s Charter

Press release
Release date: 12 January 2017

CIoJ submission to DCMS on Section 40 and Leveson Part Two January 2017

The worlds oldest journalists organisation has condemned as a “Bully’s Charter”, Section 40 of the Govt’s Crime & Courts Act, which seriously increases state regulation of the press.

In its submission to the government’s consultation on the implementation of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act and Leveson Part Two, the CIoJ also advised that the second part of the Leveson Inquiry should be scrapped following the disaster that was Leveson Part One.

Institute President, Mark Croucher, said: “We believe, as many do, that if Section 40 is implemented it will have a disastrous effect on our industry especially in those areas of journalism that take the risk of exposing wrongdoing.

“Self-regulation cannot be achieved when publishers are bullied into signing up to a government provided regulator.  The leading publishers have already indicated they will not be intimidated into conformity – what real journalist would?  This section of law seeks to strike a blow to the very heart of journalism.  In recent weeks there have been numerous examples of stories that would not have been published if Section 40 had already been in place.”

Even if publishers signed up to the Government’s regulator there is no guarantee that they could afford the low cost arbitration it offers.  The financial cost of which would be £3,500 for the hearing alone.  What local publisher would be able to afford too many of those costs, win or lose?

“It’s about time the Government called an end to this whole sorry affair,” Croucher said, “it has gone too far and cost too much in every sense.  Leveson Part One cost in excess of £40 million and resulted in very few convictions.  On top of that, journalist sources have been burned and the relationship between police and journalists is now wrapped up in procedure and regulation which effectively kills off any meaningful flow of information in either direction.  What possible good might come from Leveson Part Two?”