POWER WITH RESPONSIBILITY
In 2011, the phone hacking scandal made it impossible for the Government to ignore the issue of press standards.
The Leveson Inquiry was established, which investigated the collapse in ethical standards and regulation across the newspaper industry.
Public trust in newspapers had been damaged, and the credibility of the industry-controlled complaints-handler, the PCC, was lost.
Leveson’s solution was to recommend a new independent regulator, to uphold standards, restore public trust, and also to ban politicians from interference in press regulation.
The response from most of the largest newspapers was predictable. They resurrected their old complaints-handler the PCC, renaming it “IPSO”, and carried on as before.
But some news outlets did support the Leveson principles of high standards, public accountability, and freedom from political influence. In 2014 the UK’s first ever independent newspaper regulator was formed on behalf of these publishers, called IMPRESS.
IMPRESS is the only press regulator in the UK which bans politicians from being involved, and is run independently of the newspaper industry itself.
IMPRESS now has over a hundred members – more than the corporate press’ complaints-handler IPSO.
In signing up to be a member of IMPRESS, publishers are not just making themselves accountable.
In joining the first press regulator to be immune from political interference, they are standing up for press freedom. And they are signalling their commitment to their readers, and putting the public first.
They are also expressing confidence in their own journalism – because unlike IPSO, IMPRESS won’t help them cover up their mistakes.
They are the future of print & online journalism, and are transforming the public’s attitude to the industry.
They are reversing years of low standards and declining trust in newspapers.
This report shows how far the Leveson reforms – against all odds, and in the face of opposition from the Government and the national press – has revolutionised the newspaper industry, and showcases some of the remarkable and pioneering publishers who are leading the way.