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PRESS RELEASE: Meghan and Harry interview highlights need for robust press standards on discrimination

The recent broadcast and analysis of the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview with Oprah Winfrey has raised important questions about media standards, ethics and discrimination in the UK press. 

IMPRESS is in the process of reviewing the discrimination clause of its Standards Code as part of a comprehensive review of standards for newspapers and online news sites. This review was launched in November 2020 to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck between press freedom and the rights of individuals to be protected from discrimination.

We want to thank all the organisations and members of the public who have made submissions through our open call for evidence to the code review over the past months.

Our code review process is ongoing.

Ed Procter, CEO of IMPRESS: ‘IMPRESS welcomes further comments and suggestions from readers, publishers and organisations about our Code. We all have a stake in the public interest served by high-quality journalism and should have the opportunity to contribute to improving quality, trustworthiness and standards in the press.’

In 2017 IMPRESS introduced a new Standards Code which recognises that discriminatory and inaccurate content and conduct is harmful to both individuals and groups. This enables IMPRESS to investigate complaints from individuals and representative groups in circumstances where publishers are alleged to have used prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person on the basis of that person’s protected characteristic or to incite hatred against any group on the basis of that group’s protected characteristic.     

To learn more about the IMPRESS Code Review and Standards Code visit https://www.impress.press/standards/


 

Notes to Editors

IMPRESS Code clauses referred to in the statement:

1. Accuracy

1.1. Publishers must take all reasonable steps to ensure accuracy.

1.2. Publishers must correct any significant inaccuracy with due prominence, which should normally be equal prominence, at the earliest opportunity.

1.3. Publishers must always distinguish clearly between statements of fact, conjecture and opinion.

1.4. Whilst free to be partisan, publishers must not misrepresent or distort the facts.

 

4. Discrimination

4.1. Publishers must not make prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person on the basis of that person’s age, disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or another characteristic that makes that person vulnerable to discrimination.

4.2. Publishers must not refer to a person’s disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, pregnancy, race, religion or sexual orientation unless this characteristic is relevant to the story.

4.3. Publishers must not incite hatred against any group on the basis of that group’s age, disability, mental health, gender reassignment or identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation or another characteristic that makes that group vulnerable to discrimination.

IMPRESS Standards Code and Guidance available in full here: https://www.impress.press/standards/


 

About IMPRESS

IMPRESS regulates 170+ publications in the UK, with an estimated 15 million readers 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.

www.impress.press

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Media enquiries

Clara Aguirre: clara@impressreg.org.uk / 020 3325 4288