Recognition of IMPRESS, the Max Mosley-backed press regulator, would be disastrous for the free press in the UK, it was warned today.

89up, the authors of “Leveson’s Illiberal Legacy”, have warned that the process through which the Press Recognition Panel has engaged with IMPRESS has been flawed, leading to serious doubts about the validity of recognition of the regulator. The organisation has decided to publish its concerns over the process ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the Press Recognition Panel which will consider IMPRESS’s application for recognition.

In a letter to the PRP on 19 August, 89up raised 25 issues surrounding the establishment and funding of the proposed regulator that raise questions of legality and could lead to long and costly court proceedings. These issues include unresolved questions over the funding of IMPRESS by one individual, Max Mosley.  Questions about the independence or otherwise of IMPRESS remain unanswered.

89up also questions whether a body that regulates just a few dozen small websites and hyperlocal publications can claim to be a “self-regulatory” body for the whole of the UK press.

Sashy Nathan, director of advocacy at 89up, said today: “89up has been engaged with the recognition process for over a year now. We have decided to publish our most recent correspondence with the Press Recognition Panel as we believe these concerns must be made public ahead of Tuesday’s meeting of the PRP board to consider IMPRESS’s application for recognition.”

He went on: “We believe the process has not lived up to the high standards we should expect for such an important decision, which will have a huge impact on press freedom in the UK and potentially around the world.”

Click here to read 89up's letter to the Press Recognition Panel

89up are consultants to the Free Speech Network and authors of Leveson’s Illiberal Legacy