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IMPRESS welcomes joint committee recommendations on draft Online Safety Bill

 

14 December 2021. IMPRESS welcomes joint committee recommendations published today regarding the need to revise definitions of journalistic content proposed under the government’s draft Online Safety Bill.

IMPRESS is ready to work with the Government on this task to ensure that any new legal tests for journalistic content take account of existing legal definitions and respect existing systems of self-regulation of the press.

We also welcome the opportunity to ensure adequate means of redress are provided under the bill for well-regulated publishers, to ensure that their content is not subject to excess moderation and that their exposure to audiences via online platforms is not reduced.

Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana, Head of Regulation at IMPRESS said:

“IMPRESS is concerned about the role played by private social media companies in enforcing new regulations about who qualifies as a news publisher and what counts as  journalism. This presents a real threat to the freedom of the press and undermines established systems of self-regulation. We endorse Facebook’s position that “private companies should not be the arbiters of what constitutes journalism or what is democratically important”.

Lexie continued:

“News publishers who are already well-regulated in the public interest are experiencing significant interference in their ability to reach audiences because of platform over-moderation.”

“As the only UK press regulator approved in law, IMPRESS is ready to work with Government and Ofcom to develop a definition of journalistic content that will preserve the freedom of expression, while protecting the public from abuse, particularly from unregulated sources of misinformation.”

 


About IMPRESS

IMPRESS regulates 190+ publications in the UK, reaching over 16 million readers in the UK each month. 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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Media enquiries

Alexandra Ward: alexandra@impressreg.org.uk / 020 3325 4289