IMPRESS is now accepting applications from news publishers who wish to benefit from discounted subscription rates.
Apply to join here.
IMPRESS protects publishers, journalists and the public by handling complaints, investigating alleged breaches of the standards code, providing arbitration for legal disputes and by issuing advisory notices concerning unwelcome press intrusion. Our team will be on-hand to assist publishers with the demands of modern ethical journalism.
What can we offer you?
- Low fees: IMPRESS is a non-profit company which exists to promote high standards of journalism. The Independent Press Regulation Trust, a registered charity, has guaranteed to underwrite our costs for four years so that we can offer low fees to publishers, on a sliding scale based on your turnover. Please get in touch for more details.
- Straightforward complaints-handling: We believe that regulation is primarily about learning from mistakes and improving standards. Our approach to resolving complaints is straightforward and simple, and based on well-respected ombudsman schemes in other industries.
- Affordable arbitration: We have worked closely with the Charted Institute of Arbitrators, an internationally-recognised charity, to create an arbitration scheme which allows publishers and members of the public to resolve disputes without the need for costly legal bills.
- Whistleblowing hotline: Our partners at the charity Public Concern at Work can give confidential and expert advice to publishers’ staff about whistleblowing. This allows you to support and protect your journalists in order to maintain high standards of trusted journalism.
- Advisory notice: We issue Advisory Notices to publishers to give warning or advice about unwelcome press intrusion when we receive requests from members of the public.
- Accessible advice: We believe that everyone should be able to understand the ethical standards of news publishing and journalism. So news publishers, journalists and members of the public can contact IMPRESS at any time and ask for advice on issues to do with our standards code.
- Consultation rights: IMPRESS is an independent body, but we want to listen to and learn from our members. We promise to consult all our participating publishers on any changes to our articles, rules or budget. This commitment is enshrined in our constitution.
- Networking: By joining IMPRESS, publishers will become part of a diverse network of organisations who share the values of independent journalism. We aim to respond to your needs. In future years we expect to provide training and networking facilities.
What are the legal benefits?
The fear of being sued can have a chilling effect on independent news publishers. At present, anyone who is sued for libel, breach of privacy or harrassment faces the risk of ruinous damages and costs if they lose the case. By joining IMPRESS, you will have the opportunity to arbitrate such disputes, at a low cost. If a claimant refuses to arbitrate, you should in future be protected from the risk of exemplary damages and costs, under the Crime and Courts Act 2013, if you belong to a recognised regulator. IMPRESS is the only body with any prospect of becoming a recognised regulator and thereby offering these protections. We can’t guarantee total protection, but we can help mitigate the risk to you and your business.
“What our publishers say about us”
"We are excited to join IMPRESS and be part of this movement for a more ethical media, alongside other publishers who also want to self-regulate." Vanessa Baird, New Internationalist
“We like the idea offered by IMPRESS of a wider remit beyond regulation where it is offering publishers a forum and networking opportunity and more extensive benefits for its members.” Daniel Ionescu, The Lincolnite
“We are reassured by the IMPRESS arbitration scheme and the fact that we will have a structure and a process to follow if we ever need it.” Una Murphy, VIEWdigital
“We wanted to join IMPRESS because its vision for independent regulation matched our values and we felt that its mind set was forward-thinking and open to how journalism is evolving.” Sean Dagan Wood, Positive News
“We are pleased to be part of a new regulator, whose aims, like ours, are to promote a more ethical media.” Richard Gurney, Caerphilly Observer
“I would recommend IMPRESS to any news publication – it has given Shropshire Live the validation which we did not have before.” Martin Childs, Shropshire Live
What do we need from you?
- Standards: All members of IMPRESS will be required to uphold a standards code which sets out the minimum professional standards to be expected of news publishers and journalists.
- Trusted journalism: We ask our members to display the IMPRESS kitemark. This defines publishers who are committed to the principles of trusted journalism and helps your readers to know that their concerns will be addressed properly.
- Reporting: We want to learn from our experiences, so we ask you to provide us with simple information about any complaints you have received and any other compliance issues. We will publish an annual report so that the public can see how well we are doing.
- Arbitration costs: When a member of the public has arguably suffered real harm, in the form of libel, breach of privacy or harrassment, we may agree to offer arbitration. The cost of arbitration will be capped at a maximum of £3,500. This will normally be payable by publishers. We will subsidise the fees of one arbitration per year for publishers with turnover below £1m.
- Complaints handling: Before we get involved in a complaint, we ask all complainants to talk to you – the publisher – first. This allows publishers and journalists to maintain good relationships with their sources and audiences. We ask that every publisher has an adequate and speedy approach to complaints-handling. We can help you set this up if you don't already have a system in place.
- Compliance with investigations: Sometimes, if a complaint is made to IMPRESS, we may need to conduct an investigation into what has happened. We ask publishers and complainants to provide access to any relevant information
- Advisory Notices: We ask you to act on Advisory Notices that we may issue to publishers from time to time to warn or advise that identified individuals do not welcome press intrusion
- Decent employment standards: We believe that the best journalism happens when journalists feel secure in their employment. We ask that publishers include provisions in the contracts with their journalists which would protect them if they choose to inform IMPRESS about ethical issues within their place of work.
- Commitment: If you join IMPRESS, we ask you to sign a five-year contract. This can be terminated with six months' notice.
Would you like to join us?
Download an application form here. To find out more about how IMPRESS can help your organisation please request a full information pack. You can contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (020 3325 4288). Or you can write to us at the following address:
IMPRESS: The Independent Monitor for the Press
16-18 New Bridge Street
We look forward to working with you.