IMPRESS Response to report on antisemitism and alternative media
UPDATED 17 February 2021: Since the publication of the below statement, the report entitled ‘Antisimetism and the ‘alternative media’’ (authored by Daniel Allington and Tanvi Joshi, January 2021) has been published on the website of the HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism (HMGIAA). IMPRESS has contacted the author of the report to request information so we can independently assess the evidence presented against the standards required of publishers regulated by IMPRESS.
More information: How to complain to IMPRESS about a regulated publication.
[This statement was published on our website on 29 January 2021].
An article published in the Jewish Chronicle on 28th January refers to a currently unpublished report into antisemitism and alternative media which is reported to have been commissioned by the Government’s advisor on antisemitism Lord Mann and authored by Dr Daniel Allington of Kings College London. Two of the news sites featured in the report (The Canary and Skwawkbox) are regulated by IMPRESS under a Royal Charter approved scheme of press regulation.
There is no requirement for any news publisher to be regulated, but those which have opted in to regulation by IMPRESS are regulated to a publicly accountable and transparent standard. IMPRESS has contacted Lord Mann and the author of the report to request an advance copy so that we can independently assess the evidence presented against the standards required of publishers regulated by IMPRESS.
Impress CEO Ed Procter said:
“Publishers regulated by IMPRESS are free to advance a partisan editorial agenda as long as content is accurate, avoids language that is prejudicial or pejorative and does not incite hatred against any group on the basis of that group’s religion or other characteristic that makes a group vulnerable to discrimination”.
Ed Procter continued:
“News websites regulated by IMPRESS are part of the only officially approved system of press regulation in the UK, which provides easy redress for complainants through a complaints handling scheme and arbitration system that is outside of the control and influence of any publisher, politician or commercial interest”
Notes for Editors
- The Government's reluctance to fully implement the post Leveson incentives to join an approved regulator (set out in Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act), has left most publishers outside of any system of transparent and publicly accountable regulation.
- This has created a patchy, inconsistent and largely unaccountable system of regulation of newspapers and news websites that has left publishers free to opt out, join or leave an approved regulator or industry complaints handling body without consequences.
- The freedom of news websites to opt in, join or leave approved regulators or complaint handling bodies without consequences, has potential to undermine the Government's Online Harms policy, unless there are measures to prevent this.
- Full implementation of the Leveson reforms would have incentivised all news websites to sign up for publicly accountable regulation and would have provided new legal protections to the public against those websites that opted out of publicly accountable regulation.
IMPRESS regulates 150+ 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, as well as an open code review process in which all members of the public can take part. We work in partnership with the public, publishers and key stakeholders to raise the standards of journalism.
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