‘We know that IMPRESS represents change’

At IMPRESS, we know that the world of journalism is changing. The digital media revolution poses great opportunities and challenges. Consumers now get their news from a wide range of sources – hyperlocal sites, non-profit organisations and global media brands. The public’s appetite and need for original journalism and investigative reporting remains strong. But the system of press regulation in the UK hasn’t kept pace with the changes in the market.

We launched IMPRESS because all news organisations – no matter how large or small – need an efficient, cost-effective and impartial body to help resolve complaints. That’s why Sir Harold Evans, the award-winning former editor of the Sunday Times and a world press freedom hero, supports us. He described IMPRESS as ‘a press regulator wholly independent of government and commercial interests’.

Individual journalists also need protection from the risks they face and a regulator that works to improve standards. That’s why the National Union of Journalists has welcomed IMPRESS. Chris Frost, Chair of the NUJ Ethics Council said: ‘IMPRESS offers an independent framework that can enable our profession to drive up standards, public trust and ethical journalism in the UK. Crucially, IMPRESS supports the introduction of safeguards for all journalists who object to being made to act unethically in the pursuit of a story.’

We believe in standing up to be counted. That’s why we announced last year that we would submit an application to the Press Recognition Panel. The PRP have the responsibility, on behalf of the public, to decide whether or not we meet the standards of press regulation that were agreed after the Leveson Inquiry. For the first time, this means that press regulators will be accountable to the public – not just the proprietors of the largest newspaper groups.

We know that IMPRESS represents change – the kind of change which editors, journalists and members of the public have consistently called for. But there are some powerful figures in the news industry who resist, or even fear, change. They are accustomed to having the final word on press regulation, and we are not surprised that they have made their views known via the PRP call for information. Just how much they fear change and challenge is demonstrated today by the huge effort and concerted energy they have devoted to attempting to prevent our small organisation emerging to compete. Nonetheless, we look forward to engaging fully with the detailed points they have made.

In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to achieve a new and resilient form of press regulation, which learns the lessons of the past and looks forward to a positive future for journalism, in all its varied forms.