If IPSO is serious about protecting the public from intrusive newsgathering, then why does it not have any power to enforce this warning service?
- As noted above, IPSO claims to have issued ‘48 privacy notices, protecting the public from unwanted approaches by the media and made nearly 20 proactive approaches to organisations we thought could benefit from our harassment advice.’ Whereas the power to issues these notices exists in the Regulations, the notices themselves are merely advisory. No consequences follow from the press ignoring these notices. For, as clause 5.6 states, ‘such notification and advice shall be confidential and non-binding and shall not restrict the freedom to publish.’
- Moreover, IPSO has no obligation to issue these notices nor take account of complaints about intrusive newsgathering practices, for, as clause 5.6 also states, the decision to pursue these complaints is entirely at IPSO’s ‘discretion’.
- The more interesting statistics, then, are a) how many requests under clause 5.6 were not pursued by IPSO, b) how many of these 48 notifications were acted upon by the press, and c) how many, if any, further notifications made by IPSO were ignored altogether by the press? The absence of any independent audit seriously calls into question how this promise is being observed. At the very least it would be instructive to see IPSO produce examples (suitably redacted as to personal details) of the types of warnings they normally issue and the instructions they give.