IMPRESS steps up preparations for new Online Harms legislation; and urges government and new internet regulator ‘to work closely with regulators like IMPRESS to avoid duplication and gaps in the regulation of an increasingly converged media’

IMPRESS welcomes the Government’s first response to the Online Harms consultation that suggests it is minded to give Ofcom new powers to regulate user generated content on the internet. This is a unique opportunity to comprehensively update media regulation in the UK and to ensure the public is protected from online harms. IMPRESS looks forward to hearing more detailed announcements in due course.

Regarding today’s response, IMPRESS urged the government to take the necessary steps to avoid creating an uneven regulatory framework where some operators get to shirk their responsibilities in a way that makes it more difficult for members of the public to get harmful content removed and put a stop to online abuse.

IMPRESS welcomes further constructive engagement with Ofcom, to ensure that statutory online harms regulation provides a coherent and easy to navigate system for the public that works alongside IMPRESS’s approved scheme of regulation for news websites.  

Ed Procter, Chief Operating Officer of IMPRESS, said: ‘We believe it is crucial that the government and Ofcom continue to work closely with regulators like IMPRESS to avoid duplication and gaps in the regulation of an increasingly converged media. We support the proposal for editorial content to fall outside the scope of the new regulations but believe further clarity is required when it comes to user-generated content on news websites such as comment sections.’

In anticipation of this, IMPRESS has been engaging with regulated publishers on the issue of user-generated content and will continue our work to bring websites within the officially approved scheme of self-regulation, which is recognised by the Press Recognition Panel for its effectiveness in protecting the public.


On July 2019, IMPRESS submitted a full response to the government’s open consultation on the Online Harms White Paper.

About IMPRESS: The Independent Monitor for the Press


IMPRESS provides an officially approved scheme of press regulation. This provides external verification that our Regulatory Scheme is effective, publicly accountable and protects the freedom of the press. We regulate 135+ newspapers and websites in the UK. We provide website providers with the protection and support they need to do their job, and members of the public with efficient means of redress. 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 stakeholders to raise the standards of journalism and news, both in print and online, in the UK.


More IMPRESS news



Media enquiries:

Clara Aguirre: / 020 3325 4288