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Small blogs will escape post-Leveson rules

Government seeks to 'clarify the position' over smaller scale operations

Blogs that have a turnover of less than £2m or employ fewer than 10 staff will not be subject to new press regulation.

The Government moved yesterday to dispel fears that a Royal Charter designed for regulating the press would introduce unprecedented controls over the blogosphere.

The charter is designed to implement the proposals of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into the press but some bloggers feared they could be made subject to the prospect of exemplary damages in court if they failed to sign up to the new system.

In a statement issued yesterday the Department for Culture, Media and Sport attempted to “clarify the position” by bringing forward amendments which will go before MPs on Monday. Small firms for whom news is not their core business will also be made exempt from the new regulatory system.

Party leaders have agreed on a new independent regulator which would have the power to demand up-front apologies from UK publishers and impose fines of up to £1m.

Before the Easter recess, ministers tabled a holding amendment to exclude “small-scale” bloggers from the new system.

“We were clear in our original proposals that small-scale blogs would not be covered by the incentives to join a press self-regulator,” said a Government spokesperson. “The amendments we have tabled clarify the position and set out a simple and clear exemption for all small-scale blogs. The Royal Charter proposals will create a tough system of independent self-regulation of the press while protecting freedom of speech.”