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Media Law: Newspapers fail in last-minute challenge to Royal Charter

Newspaper and magazine publishers have failed in a last-minute bid to seek a legal injunction to prevent the Government from enacting a Royal Charter on press regulation, reports the BBC.

The publishers believed that the process for deciding the format for future press regulation was unfair, and launched a judicial review of the Royal Charter in the Court of Appeal yesterday.

The industry had produced its own version of the Royal Charter, required in the wake of the devastating review of press ethics conducted by Lord Justice Leveson in 2012.

However, the Privy Council, the body charged with drafting the Royal Charter, rejected the press proposal and continued with plans to enact its own version.

The Court of Appeal judges turned down the application for a judicial review and the Privy Council granted the Government's Royal Charter on press regulation late last night.

The publishers believed that the Privy Council did not adequately consider their proposals and failed to consult the press on the make up of the final draft of the Charter.

Newspapers fear that the new Royal Charter will amount to state regulation of the press, something that has not taken place in the UK for over 300 years and has prompted many to claim that Britain's free press is at stake.

Supporters of greater regulation point to the litany of wrongdoing uncovered by police and investigators into the phone-hacking scandal and the subsequent unearthing of highly dubious press practices as evidence that the press can no longer regulate itself.

The industry was represented by the Press Standards Board of Finance (Pressbof), which raises money from the industry for the current regulator, the Press Complaints Commission.

Roger Alton, the executive editor of the Times, said that the deal on press regulation passed by the Government was 'very sad'.

"The idea that somehow a deal stitched up between a few politicians over pizzas and a handful of lobbyists from Hacked Off... is the thing that now controls the press, which is one of the most vital safeguards in our democracy, I find extraordinarily depressing, very sad ... It will be resisted," he told the BBC.