FAQ

  1. Why was IMPRESS created?
  2. Who is IMPRESS for?
  3. How can publications join IMPRESS?
  4. What other benefits does an IMPRESS membership have?
  5. How much does the IMPRESS membership cost?
  6. Can journalists join IMPRESS?
  7. How can members of the public contact IMPRESS, and bring complaints forward?
  8. Can IMPRESS initiate investigations?
  9. Who runs IMPRESS?
  10. How is IMPRESS funded?
  11. Which publishers does IMPRESS regulate?
  12. What is the relationship between IMPRESS and the government?
  13. What is Section 40?
  14. How do you ensure publisher compliance with the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme?

 

1. Why was IMPRESS created?

Effective, accurate journalism has never been more important to society. But right now it is under more pressure than ever - from technological changes, the economics of publishing, the challenge of new, unverified sources of news and opinion, and from political interests.

It can only withstand these pressures if it has a secure framework within which to operate, and the confidence of the public.

IMPRESS is here to ensure quality, independent journalism flourishes in a digital age, helping build understanding and trust between journalists and the public.

Watch founder of IMPRESS, Jonathan Heawood explain how IMPRESS was born.

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2. Who is IMPRESS for?

IMPRESS aims to build trust in journalism to the benefit of us all. We provide journalists and publishers with the protection and the support they need to do their job, hold the powerful to account, and speak with confidence and security. We provide the public with the reassurance that they can rely on the news sources that inform them, entertain them and represent their interests.

Membership of IMPRESS is available to all UK news publishers.

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3. How can publications join IMPRESS?

Joining IMPRESS can cost as little as £50 a year for organisations with up to £100,000 annual turnover, with a sliding scale for larger organisations based on turnover above that. You can apply online to join IMPRESS here.

>> If you wish to discuss joining IMPRESS, contact our Business and Communications Executive, Alexandra Ward at alexandra@impressreg.org.uk

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4. What other benefits does an IMPRESS membership have?

  • Protection from legal costs. Our low cost arbitration scheme means your business will be protected from the threat of legal action in response to investigative reporting.
  • Support as part of the future of journalism. Be a part of the future of news media, building on the core principles of the past, while innovating to deal with the challenges of the digital age.
  • A network. Our members join group of dynamic, innovative organisations that is continuosly growing. Through this network, they can share expertise and experiences.

>> You can learn more about the benefits of joining IMPRESS and other services on our Join IMPRESS page

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5. How much does the IMPRESS membership cost?

IMPRESS offers regulated publications affordable fees. IMPRESS charges members an annual subscription fee based on 0.1% of turnover measured by the net sales generated by the business in activities of, and related to, news publishing, in the publisher’s most recent 12 month accounting period.

IMPRESS consulted on its fees structure in 2019. IMPRESS held a consultation with participating publishers which ran from to 1 February to 1 March 2019; followed by a consultation with potential members and the public from 15 March to 15 April 2019.

>> More details about the IMPRESS 2019 Financial Consultation. 

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6. Can journalists join IMPRESS?

Currently IMPRESS does not offer membership to individual journalists.

Through our progressive Standards Code, we help journalists take the steps to protect themselves and to ensure accuracy, in an age where they are under more pressure than ever from economics, technology and new competitors.

>> We also have a whistleblowing hotline.  Please refer to our dedicated Whistleblowing page for more information.

>> Find out more on our Journalists page.

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7. How can members of the public contact IMPRESS, and bring complaints forwards?

IMPRESS provides the public with the reassurance that they can rely on the news sources that inform them, entertain them and represent their interests.

>> Find out more on the different IMPRESS services available to members of the public

In the long term, we expect to generate income from a range of sources, including regulatory fees. In the meantime, we have obtained funding from the Independent Press Regulation Trust (IPRT), a charity which exists to promote high standards of journalism. The IPRT can award grants to any organisation that shares its charitable purpose of supporting independent press regulation.

In 2015, we entered into a long-term agreement with the IPRT for £3.8m in funding over the next four years. The IPRT’s funding has been guaranteed by the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust. Other funders may contribute to the Trust in future. This grant is enough to cover our core costs for this period whilst we develop our income from regulatory fees.

The IPRT IMPRESS Funding Agreement is typical of charitable funding agreements. In addition, it serves to protect the independence of IMPRESS, as a fair and impartial regulator, from any donor'.

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8. Can IMPRESS initiate investigations?

In addition to investigating complaints made by members of the public, IMPRESS has powers to initiate independent investigations into any of the publications it regulates, through a fair and impartial process as required under the system of approved regulation. Further, IMPRESS has powers to assess evidence of serious or systemic breaches of its Standards Code.

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9. Who runs IMPRESS?

Key to our role as an effective, independent and transparent regulator is our governance and structure.

Our Board is made up of journalists, experts and specialists with a wide range of experience and skills. They are selected by an independent Appointment Panel. We also maintain a Code Committee, that is responsible for advising the board on our Standards Code.

IMPRESS also has a small staff team, based in central London.

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10. How is IMPRESS funded?

IMPRESS is a transparent organisation, regularly reviewed by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP). The PRP's review includes a close inspection of IMPRESS funding arrangements and systems. The latest PRP review was finalised in March 2019, when the PRP confirmed that IMPRESS continues to meet each of the recognition criteria stated in the Royal Charter. Being recognised according to these criteria essentially means that IMPRESS is ‘independent of the print and online publishers it regulates, is appropriately funded, and has systems in place to protect the public.’

You can find a detailed description of our funding arrangements and independence safegaurds in our Funding page. 

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11. Which publishers does IMPRESS regulate?

We are growing quickly. Our membership is currently made up of 100+ publishers (publishing 170+ publications) from across the country, collectively reaching more than 15 million people every month.

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12. What is the relationship between IMPRESS and the government?

IMPRESS is a Leveson-compliant regulator and is currently the only organisation that has applied for recognition by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP). The PRP was set up at arm’s length by the Government in response to Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations. IMPRESS was recognised by the PRP on 25 October 2016 as the first independent press regulator in the UK. The Chair of the PRP, Dr David Wolfe, has said: ‘The Panel works in the public interest by supporting and promoting a free press in a free and fair society.’

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13. What is Section 40?

Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 gives publishers a choice: to join a recognised press regulator and take advantage of a low-cost arbitration scheme or not to join a recognised regulator, in which case they may be liable for the claimant’s costs in any legal action for libel, breach of privacy or harassment. 

Publishers which join a recognised regulator will thereby be able to pursue more investigative journalism, confident that they cannot be deterred by the chilling effect of legal threats.  Whilst the majority of provisions in the Crime and Courts Act have come into force, the Government has not yet commenced section 40.

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14. How do you ensure publisher compliance with the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme?

Being regulated by IMPRESS means operating ethically. Being an ethical publisher under an approved system of self-regulation of the press means a publisher is operating transparently; has satisfactory systems in place to deal with complaints and compliance; and adheres to the IMPRESS Regulatory Scheme and Standards Code. To make sure regulated publications continue to be compliant with our scheme, we run interim compliance checks throughout the year and an annual compliance return check at the end of each financial year. 

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