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IMPRESS announces review of press standards, and calls for proposed online harms regulation to exempt already well-regulated news websites

IMPRESS has today published its 2019-20 Annual Report to coincide with the fourth anniversary of its recognition as the first, and so far only, regulator to be approved as independent and effective under the Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press.

IMPRESS reports another year of growth with a 9% increase in publications coming under its approved self-regulation scheme; and a 25% growth in monthly readers reached by IMPRESS-regulated journalism (a total of 15 million readers). The report announces a comprehensive review of the IMPRESS Standards Code to ensure that it continues to remain relevant and fit for purpose for future needs. The report also calls on Government to incentivise news websites into publicly accountable systems of self-regulation as an alternative to statutory online harms regulation.

Walter Merricks, Chair of IMPRESS, said: “IMPRESS sets the gold standard of publicly accountable regulation for print and digital press. We regulate 160 publications, reaching over 15 million readers each month. We are announcing a comprehensive review of our Standards Code to ensure than it continues to serve the public interest and meet the key standards issues the industry faces in the digital age. We look forward to engaging with the public, civic society groups, journalists and the news industry more widely to ensure that it is a truly collaborative process”.

Ed Procter, CEO of IMPRESS, said: “Too many news websites sit outside any system of publicly accountable regulation. We urge the Government to incentivise news websites to sign up for independent self-regulation as an alternative to being caught by proposed statutory online harms regulation”. The 2019-20 IMPRESS Annual Report, as well as previous reports, is available on the IMPRESS website.

The 2019-20 IMPRESS Annual Report is available to read here:

About IMPRESS

IMPRESS regulates almost 100 publishers, who collectively publish 160+ news publications in the UK. We provide publishers and journalists with the protection and support they need to do their job. We offer complaints adjudication, free arbitration, a comprehensive insurance scheme and a progressive Standards Code. We work in partnership with the public, publishers and key stakeholders to raise the standards of journalism.

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