Salman Rushdie, Richard Dawkins, and Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, are among more than 100 signatories to a declaration calling on newspapers to accept the Government’s Royal Charter on press regulation.
The petition of high-profile figures has been drawn up by the press reform campaign Hacked Off to put pressure on newspapers which are close to setting up a new regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
The signatories to the declaration – many of whom are from the arts world – say newspapers will “rise in public esteem” if they embrace the Royal Charter. “It is our view that this Charter safeguards the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable,” the declaration states.
The Royal Charter, granted by the Privy Council last month, has been rejected by most newspaper and magazine organisations, raising the likelihood that it will be unrecognised by the publishers that sign up to IPSO.
But the supporters of the pro-Charter declaration include a number of senior media figures including the former editor of The Sun, David Yelland.
The list includes the authors JK Rowling, Helen Fielding and Monica Ali, the playwrights Sir Tom Stoppard and Sir Alan Ayckbourn, the film directors Sir Alan Parker and Guy Ritchie, and the director of the National Theatre Sir Nicholas Hytner. It also been signed by the sports broadcasters Clare Balding and Gary Lineker.
Actor Hugh Grant, a director of Hacked Off, told The Independent: “This shows that a legion of serious literary and creative people who really understand free expression is full-square behind the Charter.”