The Express and Star and their Sunday stablemates carried a series of entirely false and fabricated stories.
This situation could now change - but probably only in the short-term. Even the size of the fines imposed on the papers will be outweighed by the amount of money to be made from increased sales.
So what does it mean for PROs? Thinking and acting quickly becomes key as does using the speed and global reach of the internet to challenge and correct falsehoods.
PROs should cultivate strong, senior-level media relations and adopt a policy based on three 'F' words - be First, be Frank, and be Fast.
Think like a hungry, freelance journalist so you are better able to anticipate potential storylines and head them off.
I was a senior national newspaper journalist for almost 25 years. I still love newspapers but I despair when I see blatant falsehoods pedalled as news.
Peter Davenport, MD, Acceleris Marketing Communications.