Chapter 6
The international perspective

Powers and remedies

6.36The most difficult issues around the range of powers for media standards bodies are whether the body should have the power to impose financial sanctions, and whether people should have an enforceable right of reply to stories that are published about them.

6.37In her review of Press Council models, Lara Fielden found that none of the Press Councils she surveyed have the power to fine, other than in Sweden. In her reform proposal, Fielden suggests that there should be a range of “credible” sanctions and investigatory procedures, without specifying financial sanctions, but specifically including suspension and expulsion.389
6.38The News Media Council proposed in the Finkelstein Report, would not have the power to award compensation or impose fines. Its powers would be confined to publication of an apology, the withdrawal of an article, the publication of a reply, the publication of determination of a complaint, and the power to direct where that publication should appear. After weighing the arguments for and against an enforceable right of reply and assessing international comparisons, the report concluded that a new regulatory framework should provide individuals with an enforceable right of reply,390  but not an enforceable right of access to the media due to too many practical obstacles.391
6.39The powers recommended by the Leveson Report for a new press standards body include the power to direct appropriate remedial action and the publication of corrections and apologies (including the nature, extent and placement of apologies), and the power to impose appropriate and proportionate financial sanctions for serious or systemic breaches (including financial sanctions of up to one per cent of turnover with a maximum of £1 million).392  The Leveson Report expressly excluded any power to prevent publication of any material393  and did not recommend a statutory right of reply.
389Fielden Regulating for Trust in Journalism, above n 348, at 123.
390Finkelstein Report, above n 345, at [9.19] – [9.49].
391At [9.51] – [9.67].
392Leveson Report, above n 345, Executive Summary at recommendations [15], [16], [19].
393At recommendation [17].