Newspaper coverage of Brexit had 'nasty' tone, says Britain's press regulator




Brexit protest.

Sir Alan Moses, the boss of Britain's press regulator Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), says he was frustrated by newspaper coverage of the EU referendum.


He told the Financial Times that the Brexit debate in the press had a "nasty" edge, but it was not Ipso's place to intervene on questions of tone and taste.

"Of course one would like to ask the press to be more responsible. But I have held back from making remarks like that. I don't think a regulator can address it," Sir Alan said.

"Brexit has been really interesting. What people didn't like about it … is the tone and that really nasty edge that is fed upon. It is frustrating to me as a person with my political views."

Press campaign group Hacked Off has called Ipso a "sham" because it still allows newspapers to "bully, lie and intrude with impunity," in its opinion. But a report this week by Sir Joseph Pilling said the regulator is independent, effective, and largely compliant with Leveson's recommendations.


Sir Alan Moses: Guardian won't join Ipso because it's 'far too pious.'

Ipso was set up in 2014 in response to calls for a tougher system of self-regulation following Lord Justice Leveson's 2012 inquiry into the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Ipso oversees newspapers including The Sun and The Daily Telegraph, but some prefer to use their own internal regulatory system. This includes The Guardian and the Financial Times.

Sir Alan said it would help if all newspapers play a role in Ipso's future and was critical of The Guardian for not participating. "My view is they are far too pious to join us," he said. "It makes no sense if they really believe in improving press standards."

A Guardian spokesperson told the FT: "Guardian News & Media continues to apply editorial standards through our longstanding readers' editor system, which has been further strengthened by providing complainants with the opportunity to have decisions referred to a review panel. In parallel, we maintain an ongoing dialogue with industry regulators and other relevant parties."