Press regulator IPSO launches 24-hour whistleblowing hotline for journalists

Ipso

Press regulator IPSO has boosted its hotline for journalists who feel pressured to act unethically to a 24-hour service.

The number for whistleblowers is available to employees of any one of IPSO’s 2,500 regulated publications all year round.

Previously the service, which has been going for just over a year, only operated within office hours. It became a 24-hour service yesterday.

Journalists who feel they are being asked to do something that is not in line with the Editor’s Code of Practice will be able to speak directly and anonymously with someone at any time. Before they would have had to leave a voicemail message if calling out of hours.

Press Gazette understands only two calls have ever been received and both issues were considered minor.

Charlotte Urwin, IPSO’s head of standards said: “Journalists should never feel under pressure to act in a way that is contrary to the Editors’ Code. The provision of a whistleblowers’ hotline, so that they can raise concerns, is a crucial part of the work of an independent and effective press regulator.

“By contracting with an experienced external provider who has considerable knowledge of providing similar services to a number of private and public sector institutions, IPSO is confident that the hotline meets the very highest standards available.”

The service is now operated by a third party whereas before phone calls would have gone straight through to the regulator’s office and the caller would eventually have been put through to IPSO chief executive Matt Tee.

The creation of a whistleblowing hotline for journalists asked to breach the code of conduct was recommended in the Leveson Report. IPSO came under fire for being slow to establish the hotline after the regulator was founded in September 2014.

The new number will be on the pocket guide to the Editors’ Code distributed to Society of Editors and is available on regulator’s website.

Journalists can call the hotline on 0800 032 0243 or raise a concern via the online form.

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