As the bell tolls for press freedom, the realisation that a whole host of tiny websites, including Big Brother Watch, would be covered by the provisions of the new press regulator is dawning on Westminster.
On Monday, the Lords will vote on the legislation “underpinning” the Royal Charter on press-self regulation. They will determine who is to be a ‘relevant publisher’ and at present risks catching broadly any site that is has more than one author, carries news or information about current affairs, or gossip about celebrities, and has some kind of editorial control.
We are urgently trying to garner support for the below amendment to exclude small organisations from the provisions of what is already becoming an unwieldy and unpredictable piece of legislative horse trading.
This is not an ideal situation – as with most things formulated in meetings at 2am – and it would make much more sense for this to be handled rationally and thought through properly. This amendment protects a few, but the principle has already gone.
The amendment has now been tabled by Lord Lucas – it’s now critical that the Lords adopt it.
Insert into New Schedule 5 of the Crime and Courts Bill ‘Exclusions from definition of “relevant publisher”
9) “A publisher who does not exceed the definition of a small or medium-sized enterprise as defined in Section 382 and 465 Companies Act 2006.”