The Independent London Newspaper
27th April 2017

Foot notes: A new threat to newspapers

    Paul Foot

    Published: 26 January, 2016

    I HEAR the annual journalism awards, in memory of Paul Foot, is to return after a two-year hiatus.

    Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye – which for 10 years with the Guardian ran the awards – told me: “The row over Article 40 has persuaded me it’s time to give them another whirl.

    “Some tinkering with the prizes to include a youthful element, but basically to celebrate investigative and campaigning journalism in Paul’s memory as before. Ceremony at the end of June.”

    Article 40, also known as Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, is effectively a sanction on newspapers refusing to join up to state-approved press regulators, like Impress.

    Dissenting newspapers, and there are many, would be forced to pay costs of a legal challenge against them – even if they are found to be acting in the public interest. 

    Editors across the country are no doubt feeling vulnerable. Legal costs could threaten the existence of some regional newspapers, and certainly deter them from straying too far away from safer ground. 

    Paul Foot, who died aged 66 in 2004, lived in West Hampstead for many years.

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