Our Code is the ultimate responsibility of the IMPRESS Board. The Code Committee is composed of experts who are responsible for advising the Board on the Code, and for drafting our guidance on the Code. The Committee was recruited through a fair and open process.
Code Committee Members
Ex officio members:
Walter Merricks CBE, IMPRESS Chair. Walter was the first Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, with responsibility for an organisation of 1,500 staff and a £90m budget. He recently completed a six-year term as a member of the board of the Gambling Commission and has been involved in dispute resolution and regulation in the fields of legal services, healthcare, insurance, energy and intellectual property, among others. He is a member of the Civil Aviation Authority’s consumer panel. Earlier in his career he also worked as a legal journalist and academic.
Andrea Wills, Code Committee Chair. Andrea has exceptional experience in broadcasting regulation, standard setting, and investigating serious editorial failings in the UK and Australia. She was Independent Editorial Adviser to the BBC Trust and investigated over 60 complaints about BBC content over the decade it existed. She began her career as a journalist and news editor in local radio, moved to television as an executive producer, before joining the BBC’s Editorial Policy team as its Chief Adviser. In Australia she worked for the ABC in Sydney, conducting independent reviews of broadcast content, developing editorial and media ethics standards, and training senior journalists. Andrea is on the Appeals Panel for the Video Standards Council Rating Board and is vice-chair of the board of the West Country based Learn@Multi-Academy Trust and chair of its Quality and Standards Committee.
Cordella Bart-Stewart OBE, IMPRESS Board member. Cordella has over 30 years’ experience as a solicitor and established her own general legal practice in North London in 1990. She has a strong interest in equality and human rights issues and has specialised in family and immigration law for over 25 years. She has been a fee paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal since 2000. Formerly an independent Governor of Staffordshire University, which awarded her an Honorary Doctorate. She is a Chartered Manager and Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. She is a serving Director and founding member of the award winning Black Solicitors Network, was shortlisted as the Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2014 and is a member of the Council of Law Society of England & Wales. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours list for services to the Legal Profession and to Diversity and Education.
Shelina Janmohamed, IMPRESS Board member. Shelina is an author, public speaker and newspaper columnist. She has written for publications such as The Telegraph, The Guardian, the BBC and Campaign Magazine, and is a regular opinion columnist in The National UAE. She works in the advertising and branding industry and has worked with some of the world's biggest companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Nestle. She sits as an advisor on WPP's Inclusion Board as well as the Inclusion Board for Ogilvy. She is a globally recognised expert on Muslim consumer trends. She has been named one of the UK’s 100 most powerful Muslim women.
The other members of the IMPRESS Code Committee are:
Vanessa Baird, Co-Editor of New Internationalist magazine. Her journalistic career, spanning four decades, includes local newspapers and radio in the UK and working in Peru during the tumultuous 1980s. As co-editor and writer at New Internationalist, she has focused on issues relating to human rights, and social, economic and environmental justice, publishing in magazines and books. She is an Amnesty International Human Rights Media Award winner and has a keen interest in media independence, ethics and reform.
Gavin Phillipson, is a Professor of Law at the University of Bristol and has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Melbourne and the LSE. He is author of Media Freedom under the UK Human Rights Act (2006, OUP) and has written over twenty articles and book chapters on media and free speech issues including the right to be forgotten. His work on privacy has been cited by the highest courts in the UK and overseas and he has spoken on media freedom and other issues at leading Universities around the world in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and the Netherlands. He was the academic member of the Ministry of Justice Working Group on libel reform and his work in that area was cited extensively by Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Matt Walsh is a senior lecturer in journalism at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University and former head of the department of journalism, media and performance studies at the University of Northampton. Prior to joining the University of Northampton in 2014, he spent 20 years as a journalist in broadcast and digital media. In 1999, Matt joined ITN from the BBC as a reporter and rose to become deputy editor of the ITV News Channel. He covered stories such as the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq war and the 7/7 suicide bombings. He also executive produced political programmes, including ITV’s coverage of the 2004 American presidential election. In 2006, he moved to The Times to establish the multimedia journalism department before returning to ITN as an executive producer. Matt combines teaching with industry work for international organisations, such as Thomson Reuters and Al Jazeera, and writing a PhD on the impact of social media on political journalism.
Dr Paul Wragg, Professor of Media Law at the University of Leeds. His research speciality is in press regulation and press freedom. He has written extensively about the Leveson inquiry into press culture and its compatibility with the notion of press freedom. His work has been published in leading journals in the UK and abroad. He was recently cited by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its inquiry into Australian privacy law. Author of 'A Free and Regulated Press: Defending Coercive Independent Press Regulation' (Hart Publishing, 2020) and co-editor of 'Comparative Privacy and Defamation' (Edward Elgar, 2020) with Professor András Koltay.
Paul Hutchinson has had a 20-year media career which has taken him from a reporter at a local radio station to Deputy Editor of what was then the country’s largest commercial radio news hub, to joining forces with other like-minded news gatherers to set up digital news desk the Bedford Independent, the most widely read publication in their patch. Amongst all this, Paul has also worked on the other side of the news fence, providing PR and Marketing support in the public sector and private sectors such as law, film, music, and education, where he developed a passion and expertise in modern digital news channels including ever evolving and emerging social media platforms. Paul is fiercely passionate about fighting fake news, promoting responsible and accurate journalism, and empowering younger writers of all backgrounds and opinions to become the responsible and ethical journalists of the future.
Dr Craig Gent is an editor, writer, researcher, and Head of Operations at Novara Media, an IMPRESS-regulated independent multimedia outlet which seeks to address the defining issues of the 21st century. He has taught on various topics within digital media, media sociology and journalism ethics, and holds an interdisciplinary PhD from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick, for which he studied the workplace politics of algorithmic media. As a writer his work has appeared in a number of outlets both domestically and internationally, and as an academic he has spoken to a wide range of audiences in the UK, Europe and the US. He is currently turning his academic research into a book on the politics of algorithms.
Susan McKay is an Irish writer and journalist with 30 years of experience. Her recent work has appeared in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, the Guardian/Observer, the Irish Times and other publications, and she was formerly the Northern Ireland editor of the Sunday Tribune and a columnist with the Irish News. Her books are about the NI conflict and peace process, human rights issues and feminism, and she has won several awards for her journalism and documentaries. She is currently writing a book about borders, for which she was awarded an Arts Council NI major individual award, and her book “Northern Protestants - On Shifting Ground” is to be published in April 2021. She is acting as consultant on a series of documentaries about the disappearances of young women in NI for the BBC, and is one of the judges for the Ewart Biggs literary award for work that contributes to peace and reconciliation. (To join the committee in July 2021).
Peter Coe is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Reading, where he specialises in Media Law. Prior to joining Reading in September 2019 he was a practising barrister specialising in privacy, defamation and reputation management, having been Called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 2007. He has also previously held a Senior Lectureship in Law at Aston University. Peter’s research has led to him being invited to join the Information Law and Policy Centre at the University of London's Institute of Advanced Legal Studies as a Research Associate in May 2018, and in 2020 he was appointed as an Advisor to the University of East London's Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit. Since 2020, he has been part of an IMPRESS Advisory Group that has provided guidance on the creation of a new regulatory scheme and, during 2021-22, he will act as the United Kingdom’s National Reporter on ‘Freedom of Speech and the Regulation of Fake News’ for the British Association of Comparative Law. (To join the Committee in July 2021).