IMPRESS Code Review: Call for Evidence

​​​​​From 23 November 2020 to 26 February 2021, IMPRESS held an open call for evidence in the context of our ongoing Code Review process.

Below, you will find helpful details about the call for evidence and how it was conducted. 

 


How to make a submission:

This call for evidence closed on 26 February 2021. 

You can make your submission via our ONLINE FORM. Alternatively, you can email your submission to codereview@impressreg.org.uk. In either case, please make sure you read the indications below carefully.

GO TO ONLINE FORM


Background

IMPRESS: The Independent Monitor for the Press CIC is an approved regulator under the provisions of the Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press. This means that we meet all 29 criteria of independence and effectiveness that were set out in law following the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry. 

Recognition criterion seven of the Royal Charter provides for the Board of an approved regulator to be ultimately responsible for a Code, advised by a Code Committee, which may include independent members and serving editors. The Charter acknowledges that serving editors have an important role to play in developing a Code, but not a decisive one.

Recognition criterion eight sets out the factors that the Code must account for.  These are the importance of freedom of speech; the interests of the public; the need for journalists to protect confidential sources and information; and the rights of individuals. It also describes standards that the Code must specifically cover in respect of the conduct of journalists in relation to: the treatment of other people in the process of obtaining material; appropriate respect for privacy where there is no sufficient public interest justification for breach; and accuracy and the need to avoid misrepresentation.

Code Committee members are: Walter Merricks CBE, Andrea Wills (who chairs the Committee), Shelina Janmohamed, Vanessa Baird, Emma Jones, Professor Gavin Phillipson, Dr Paul Wragg, and Matt Walsh.


Evidence Sought

The Committee has identified seven issues that it would specifically invite evidence on:

1. Journalism online

Whether the Code reflects the realities of news gathering and publication online, with particular focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), data and open source journalism; the use of social media accounts, groups and pages and whether the Code is applicable to different kinds of news providers, including non-professional and citizen journalists.

2. Discrimination

Whether Clause 4 of the Code is fit for purpose, and adequately reflects how discrimination is experienced by those with protected characteristics, particularly in an online context. Specifically whether the discrimination standard adequately addresses the degree, manner, and extent to which journalism practices impact on discrimination in society and whether they sufficiently reflect the relationship between discrimination and other clauses of the Code such as accuracy, privacy, and harassment.

3. Harassment

Whether the Code reflects how journalists gather information, approach individuals and organisations for stories and comment, engage with audiences and readers and address and deal with threats, abuse, and intimidation when it is experienced by employees and contributors.  Whether the Code takes sufficient account of the speed, delivery, and the emotional tone of journalism online and how that mode exacerbates online harassment, hate speech and any subsequent harm.

4. Accuracy

Whether the Code embodies best practice around signaling news content, the use and placement of corrections, and clarifications (for example, practices around labelling, positioning and transparency), the conflation of fact and opinion and the use of click-bait headlines. Whether the Code embodies best practice for testing veracity, verifiability and robust news gathering, particularly online.

5. Fairness

Whether the Code sufficiently addresses standards of fairness within newsgathering practice, such as dealing fairly with those reported on and avoiding misrepresentation with respect to comment.

6. Children

Whether the Code is aligned with best practice with respect to informed consent and information gathering on matters affecting children.

7. Public Safety

Whether the Code adequately addresses matters that impact on public and community safety, such as terrorism, domestic violence, and public health.


About the evidence

We ask that you submit evidence from 2016 onwards. You may submit visual and written evidence in line with the formatting specifications below, but we ask you to be concise and to focus on the issues identified above.

Your evidence must consist of any new material that has been published since 01 January 2017.  It may include (but is not limited to):

  • Newly published research
  • Examples of unethical reporting or malpractice
  • Examples of media effects or other potential harms

Please note we will be undertaking a consultation on the specific wording of the redrafted Code and Guidance later in the process.

Format: You may submit files in gif, jpeg, jpg, png, xls, xlsx, doc, docx, pdf. 


About you: please provide the following details in your submission

*Note that if you are applying through the online form, you will be requested the following information. If you are applying via email, please make sure you include the information below. 

  • Name
  • Organisation
  • Email address

Are you happy for IMPRESS to contact you in the future? (please select one of the following options)

  • Yes
  • No

Which of the following best describes you? (please select one of the following options)

  • A publisher who has applied to join IMPRESS
  • A publisher who is considering whether to join IMPRESS
  • A publisher who has no plans to join IMPRESS
  • An academic
  • A member of the public
  • A civil society organization, NGO or charity
  • A freelance journalist
  • A trade body
  • A representative from another regulator
  • A member of the legal profession
  • A statutory body or government department
  • Other, please specify

Would you be happy for IMPRESS to publish your response? (please select one of the following options)

  • Yes, I would be happy for you to publish my response and attribute it to me
  • Yes, I would be happy for you to publish my response but please do not attribute it to me as I would like to be anonymous
  • No, please do not publish my response or name

Data protection

We will process your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.


Contact us

For any questions about the Code Review process, please contact codereview@impressreg.org.uk