Membership in-depth

How you can benefit from membership

  • Affordable arbitration: We have worked closely with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, an internationally-recognised charity, to create an arbitration scheme which allows publishers and members of the public to resolve disputes without the need for costly legal bills.
  • Low fees: IMPRESS is a non-profit company which exists to promote high standards of journalism. The Independent Press Regulation Trust, a registered charity, has guaranteed to underwrite our costs for four years so that we can offer low fees to publishers, on a sliding scale based on your turnover. Please get in touch for more details.
  • Straightforward complaints-handling: We believe that regulation is primarily about learning from mistakes and improving standards. Our approach to resolving complaints is straightforward and simple, and based on well-respected ombudsman schemes in other industries.
  • Accessible advice: We believe that everyone should be able to understand the ethical standards of news publishing and journalism. So news publishers, journalists and members of the public can contact IMPRESS at any time and ask for general advice on issues to do with our standards code. (We cannot offer specific advice on an issue which might subsequently give rise to a complaint.)
  • Consultation rights: IMPRESS is an independent body, but we want to listen to and learn from our members. We promise to consult all our participating publishers on any changes to our articles, rules or budget. This commitment is enshrined in our constitution.
  • Networking: By joining IMPRESS, publishers will become part of a diverse network of organisations who share the values of independent journalism. We aim to respond to your needs. In future years we expect to provide training and networking facilities.

The legal benefits

At present, any publisher who is sued for libel, breach of privacy or harassment faces the risk of damages and costs if they lose the case. By joining IMPRESS, you will have the opportunity to arbitrate such disputes, at a low cost. If a claimant refuses to arbitrate you should in future be protected from the risk of exemplary damages and costs, under the Crime and Courts Act 2013, if you belong to a recognised regulator. IMPRESS is the first regulator to be recognised under the Royal Charter for Self-Regulation of the Press, which places us in a unique position to offer these protections. We can’t guarantee total protection, but we can help mitigate the risk to you and your business.

What do we need from you?

  • Standards: All members of IMPRESS will be required to uphold a standards code which sets out the minimum professional standards to be expected of news publishers and journalists.
  • Trust in journalism: We ask our members to display the IMPRESS kitemark. This defines publishers who are committed to the principles of trusted journalism and helps your readers to know that their concerns will be addressed properly.
  • Reporting: We want to learn from our experiences, so we ask you to provide us with simple information about any complaints you have received and any other compliance issues. We will publish an annual report so that the public can see how we are doing.
  • Arbitration costs: When a member of the public has arguably suffered real harm, in the form of libel, breach of privacy or harassment, we may agree to offer arbitration. The cost of arbitration will be capped at a maximum of £3,500. This will normally be payable by publishers. We will subsidise the fees of one arbitration per year for publishers with turnover below £1m.
  • Complaints handling: Before we get involved in a complaint, we ask all complainants to talk to you – the publisher – first. This allows publishers and journalists to maintain good relationships with their sources and audiences. We ask that every publisher has an adequate and speedy approach to complaints-handling. We can help you set this up if you don't already have a system in place.
  • Compliance with investigations: Sometimes, if a complaint is made to IMPRESS, we may need to conduct an investigation into what has happened. We ask publishers and complainants to provide access to any relevant information
  • ​Advisory Notices: We ask you to act on Advisory Notices that we may issue to publishers from time to time to warn or advise that identified individuals do not welcome press intrusion.
  • Decent employment standards: We believe that the best journalism happens when journalists feel secure in their employment. We ask that publishers include provisions in the contracts with their journalists which would protect them if they choose to inform IMPRESS about ethical issues within their place of work.
  • Commitment: If you join IMPRESS, we ask you to sign a five-year contract. This can be terminated with six months' notice.

Join IMPRESS now