Freedom to offend is a right and essential to democracy, says outgoing press watchdog chairman – The Sun

FREE speech means freedom to offend, the outgoing chairman of Britain's leading press regulator said.

Sir Alan Moses insisted there is no right not to be offended.

The former Lord Justice of Appeal defended freedom of speech - but said it could have "the most unpleasant" effect on victims.

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And state licensing of newspapers would be "fundamentally dangerous" he warned - citing the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana in Malta as a reminder of what was lost when media freedoms were violated.

Sir Alan, 74, who has led regulator IPSO since 2014, said the feelings of individuals could not automatically trump the right to free expression.

He said: "If you're the victim of something that is deeply offensive, it is the most unpleasant, uncomfortable thing that you can imagine.

"But what we have to acknowledge is that in striking the right balance in this country there is no right not to be offended." Sir Alan blasted the BBC for manoeuvring itself into ridiculous situations by striving for balance.

He suggested the corporation doesn't understand what balance means, and defended the right of newspapers to take sides.

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He said: "It doesn't mean giving an equal voice to everything, however absurd." Sir Alan said IPSO's model of "self-regulation with a contract" was the best available.

He said: "The alternatives - no regulation or a statutory licensing system - seem to me completely unacceptable.

"The idea that the law should control what newspapers should and shouldn't say, as the price of being able to publish, seems to me quite wrong - and fundamentally dangerous." Lord Faulks QC, a prominent barrister, is taking over as IPSO chairman.

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Freedom to offend is a right and essential to democracy, says outgoing press watchdog chairman - The Sun

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