MPs want advertisers to force change at newspapers

An influential committee of MPs want advertisers to punish newspapers that break the rules or do not join the future press complaints body.

Newspapers

The Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions, is to recommend in a report to be published next week that advertising body ISBA work with an enhanced Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to put in place a process that could see advertisers threaten to pull advertising from newspapers if they are found guilty of bad practise or do not sign up to self-regulation of the press.

Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell newspapers The Daily Star and The Daily Express are not currently part of the PCC.

The move follows last summer’s phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World that saw advertisers such as Renault withdraw advertising from the paper, which played a part in its closure.

Speaking at ISBA’s annual conference in London today (21 March), Committee chair John Whittingdale MP, who also heads the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said the part brands played in News International closing the paper demonstrates the power they have to enact change.

The Committee has no legislative power but its findings are likely to be studied carefully by ministers.

Ian Twinn, ISBA’s director of public affairs, says: “This is a serious challenge for ISBA and all advertisers. We saw how advertisers quickly responded to the News of the World phone hacking furore, which suggests that the Select Committee are on to something. We will be exploring this development with our advertising members.”

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