IMPRESS Introduces Independent Publishers to New Ministers

IMPRESS and three publisher members held a meeting today with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley, and the Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock.

At the meeting, IMPRESS members were joined by IMPRESS Chair Walter Merricks, CEO Jonathan Heawood, and COO Ed Procter.

This was the first meeting IMPRESS has held with the Government since Bradley and Hancock were appointed to their roles after the European Referendum. The new ministers wanted to hear about the independent news publishing sector and why a growing number of publishers are seeking regulation from IMPRESS. Representatives of the Lincolnite, Shropshire Live and Common Space stressed the value of IMPRESS’s low-cost arbitration scheme, the reputational benefits of joining an independent regulator, and the protection from libel threats when they are reporting challenging news stories.

Martin Childs, publisher of Shropshire Live, said: ‘It was valuable to spend time with the ministers and explain what we are achieving in the independent news sector. We sought membership of IMPRESS for the validation that it brought us. The prospect of receiving a serious complaint against us was threatening but now that we have the backing of IMPRESS we feel reassured. Importantly, we feel better able to do our jobs in news reporting because, as part of a Leveson-compliant regulator, we now have more confidence to investigate those stories which need to be uncovered.’

Walter Merricks, Chair of IMPRESS, said: ‘We welcomed the opportunity for the new ministers to meet our members. IMPRESS has come a long way in its growth and development in the past few months. More than 40 publications have signed up from all over the UK, with a combined reach of over two million readers. These publications represent a growing and active market for independent journalism.’

IMPRESS publications represented at the meeting were: