Hiscox broker seminar predicts tougher press regulation

2nd February 2012

LONDON, UK, (2nd February 2012): A new independent newspaper regulator will be created following the Leveson Inquiry, if the predictions among insurance brokers at a Hiscox media seminar hold true.

After a debate on the future of press regulation, with opposing views about the implications of the Inquiry presented by Caroline Kean of media law firm Wiggin and barrister Matthew Nicklin of 5RB chambers, brokers voted on which of five outcomes they believed was most likely.

"'Crowdsourcing' is not an exact science", said Ros Breese, Head of UK Media at specialist insurer Hiscox, "but this prediction was well informed. I'd be surprised if the majority of brokers were wrong about this eventual outcome."

Brokers felt the second most likely option was reform of the Press Complaints Commission. A small number believed that the government would create a new statutory regulator for all media or that print media would be brought under the remit of OFCOM. The possibility that the PCC would be abolished without a replacement was completely discounted.

"It is very easy when something as awful as press hacking comes to light to wring our hands and say 'something must be done' and 'we must pass a law to stop it happening again'", said Caroline Kean. "But there is a very real danger that statutory regulation of the press will play into the hands of those who wish to stop their misdeeds, their hypocrisy and keep their conflicts of interest from scrutiny."

Matthew Nicklin said that the Advertising Standards Authority and OFCOM were both good examples of regulators working effectively without threatening freedom of expression. He favoured the introduction of a new statutory regulator for all media, with the abolition of much legislation on defamation and privacy, but he doubted that this would come to pass.

"If tougher regulation is brought in, it should be accompanied by new dispute resolution processes, such as arbitration and mediation, that allow earlier resolution and wider access to justice at lower cost", said Ian Birdsey, Head of UK & International Technology Media & Telecoms Claims at Hiscox.

Over 40 brokers attended the debate on 1 February, chaired by Mike Dodd, Legal Editor at the Press Association and Editor of Media Lawyer newsletter. This was the first in a series of seminars on media law that Hiscox is proposing to run this year.

Ends

For further information please contact:

Further information and photographs of the speakers available from:

Ron Finlay, 07779 013093, [email protected]

About Hiscox

Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting parts of the Group - Hiscox London Market, Hiscox UK and Europe and Hiscox International. Hiscox London Market underwrites internationally traded business in the London Market - generally large or complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the international licences of Lloyd's. Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in Bermuda, Guernsey and USA. Hiscox Insurance Company Limited, Hiscox Underwriting Limited, Hiscox Europe Underwriting Limited and Hiscox Syndicates Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

For further information, visit www.hiscox.com.


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