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'The media belongs to all of us’

By Vanessa Baird

"I don’t think the media belongs to companies and their proprietors, it belongs to all of us.

As media practitioners we are both journalists and members of civil society. We have a duty not to abuse the freedom of speech we have.

When those abuses happen on the scale of the phone-hacking scandal, for example, that freedom of speech is at risk as the public, understandably, calls for tough regulation.

But if we agree to self-regulation by a body that is diverse, ethical and democratic – one that, like IMPRESS, includes a range of media and civil society interests – we are actually in a better position to protect press freedom.

A press regulator that is run solely by media bosses will never be democratic, or protect the public from abuse, or journalists from pressure to behave unethically. It is likely to be little more than a repeat of the self-serving and woefully inadequate Press Complaints Commission. The idea of trying to opt out of any kind of regulation at all seems little better.

It’s worth noting that IMPRESS has been welcomed by the National Union of Journalists. IMPRESS’s help for whistleblowing journalists, so that they can better resist pressure from unprincipled bosses, is good news for media practitioners who want to be able to take pride in their work.

We are excited to join IMPRESS and be part of this movement for a more ethical media, alongside other publishers who also want to self-regulate."

Vanessa Baird, New Internationalist Co-editor

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IMPRESS, its Board or its staff.