Hacked Off respond to Editors’ Code Review outcome

  • Editors renew press license to abuse minority groups
  • IPSO have “bottled it”
  • Outcome “a stark reminder of why a cabal of newspaper editors should not be in charge of the standards code for their own industry”


The Editors’ Code Committee has announced that, following a “review” of the Code, it will be rejecting all submissions except one.  The Committee has said that the one change it has made will make no difference to the meaning of the Code.


The Editors’ Code is the standards code used by IPSO, the newspaper association and complaints-handler supported by some national newspapers.  Unlike most complaints-handling bodies, IPSO does not control its own standards code, which is instead written by newspaper editors.


Hacked Off and other campaigners led calls to reform the code to protect minority groups from abuse, fight press disinformation, protect women from press misogyny, provide meaningful protection to people affected by intrusion after a bereavement, and to defend quality journalism.


All of these proposals were rejected.


This includes a key proposal backed by a multitude of advocacy organisations to fix the loophole in the discrimination clause which presently allows groups of people to face abuse and discrimination in the press with impunity.


Hacked Off Policy Director Nathan Sparkes said,


“Faced with dozens of important submissions to improve the Editors’ Code of Practice, editors have rejected all but one inconsequential amendment.  They have refused to act on recommendations to address disinformation, press racism, protection of quality journalism, press misogyny and intrusion into grief.


“This is a stark reminder of why a cabal of newspaper editors should not be in charge of the standards code for their own industry.


“Until this broken system is replaced by an independent regulator, as recommended in the Leveson Report, press standards will continue to suffer.


On the rejection of submissions regarding the discrimination clause, Sparkes added,


“The ban on group discrimination complaints is a license for newspaper editors to abuse minority groups with impunity.  It is disappointing if unsurprising to see editors choose to renew that license.”


The Director of MCB’s Centre for Media Monitoring, Rizwana Hamid, said,


We are of course disappointed that IPSO has not made any significant changes to the most problematic parts of the Editors’ Code. We submitted our recommendations, and it seems none were taken on board. Specifically, we believe that the issue of Due Prominence of corrections and apologies should be changed to Equal Prominence, to ensure that most readers who have seen a problematic article will also see its correction. We are also disappointed that no changes have been made to Clause 12 Discrimination, which we feel is not fit for purpose. In order to protect vulnerable minority communities, the Clause simply must be changed to include groups and institutions, and it must allow for 3rd party complaints.


On the news that IPSO made a submission which didn’t actually include any recommendations, Sparkes added,


“IPSO’s bizarre submission to the Committee is a humiliation in itself, with the complaints-handler being reduced to writing to a committee of the editors it “regulates” about changes to its own code.


“But its content is more pathetic still, with a coded reference to the discrimination clause followed by a failure to actually recommend any changes.


“They’ve bottled it.”


For press enquiries contact: sara@hackinginquiry.org / 07554 665 940

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