Statement: IPSO refuses standards investigation into newspaper despite serious and systemic misreporting

Hacked Off comment:

“IPSO have bottled it… they have never launched an investigation and it is increasingly clear they never will”

The Jewish Chronicle has breached the Editors’ Code of Conduct 33 times in three years.  The Chronicle has also admitted libel on 4 occasions over that period.

Today, those affected by the Chronicle’s libels and inaccuracies have announced that IPSO have refused their calls for a standards investigation.


Hacked Off Chief Executive Nathan Sparkes said,

In a three year period the Jewish Chronicle has broken the Editors’ Code more than 30 times and admitted libelling ordinary members of the public on four occasions.  There is unlikely to ever be a more compelling case for a standards investigation into a newspaper publisher, yet today we learn that IPSO have bottled it and failed to establish the investigation which is so clearly justified.

IPSO’s shameless record of zero standards investigations in 2675 days – and counting – goes on.  The complaints-handler has never launched an investigation, and it is increasingly clear that it never will.


Commenting on the letter sent by Lord Faulks, the politician who Chairs IPSO, Sparkes added,

IPSO’s criteria for launching an investigation have always been a fudge, with a loophole inserted by newspaper publishers when the body was formed which prevents an investigation going ahead in cases except where wrongdoing is both “serious and systemic”.

Yet it appears that this loophole was not wide enough to dodge an investigation in this case, with IPSO appearing to loosen it even further by reference to “proportionality” and “sufficiency of information”.

IPSO is making it up as it goes along, just to help publishers wriggle out of a standards investigation.  This is not only newspapers marking their own homework.  They are running the exam boards and changing the grading system when they are failing.


Commenting on a Daily Telegraph story which criticised the complainants, Sparkes added,

The Telegraph publicly criticised those calling for an investigation as they made their representations to IPSO.

This article, which could have had the effect of intimidating either the complainants or IPSO, was never sanctioned by the complaints-handler.

The public will never know if IPSO’s decision to refuse an investigation was affected by the Daily Telegraph’s coverage, a publisher which helps to fund IPSO and whose Deputy Chairman is on a body which controls IPSO’s rules.


Making a comparison with IMPRESS, Sparkes added,

IPSO stands in stark contrast to IMPRESS, the UK’s only independent press regulator, which recently concluded its own proactive investigation into allegations of discriminatory reporting at some of its member publishers.

That is the difference the Leveson system makes: a complaints-handler which protects the press, or a regulator which protects the public.



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