When Max Mosley began his campaign for tighter controls on the press he could not have foreseen that the press regulator he funds would end up fining a publisher which he has shares in.
But this was what happened yesterday when the arbitration service used by regulator Impress ordered Byline Media to pay freelance journalist Dennis Rice libel damages of £2,500.
The defamatory tweet, sent from the @Byline account on 6 March 2016, said: “If anyone else remembers @Dennisricemedia tabloid trolling #Leveson witnesses and @Byline Media journos we have new evidence might explain.”
Impress is almost entirely funded by £3.8m provided indirectly by Max Mosley’s family charity.
Mosley is also listed in Companies House filings as one of 11 shareholders in Byline Media Holdings.
Byline is a news website which publishes investigations paid for by crowdfunding.
It has extensively written about tabloid phone-hacking, illegal information gathering and other alleged journalistic corruption.
As a member of Impress it was compelled to take part in the arbitration process to settle the libel dispute.
Because neither side in the case engaged lawyers, the legal claim was free for Rice to pursue. Under Impress rules, it will pay the arbitration fees provided Byline has a turnover of less than £1m a year.
Impress offers the independent arbitration service, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, for legal claims of defamation, breach of confidence, misuse of private information, malicious falsehood and harassment against publishers.