'The man who never made a mistake never made anything': Annual statements of UK's IPSO-regulated news publishers revealed

Ipso

The 81 newspaper and magazine publishers regulated by IPSO have published their second set of annual statements.

The reports detail what steps the various titles are taking to comply with the Editors’ Code and how they have rectified problems highlighted by adjudications which have gone against them.

The annual reports are a requirement of IPSO membership and one of the major changes under the Independent Press Standards Organisation compared with the former Press Complaints Commission.

Publishers are tied into IPSO until 2020 under a contract system which also requires them to publish corrections on the front page if necessary.

All major newspaper titles are regulated by IPSO with the exception of the Evening Standard, Guardian/Observer, Financial Times and Independent (now online-only) which all have no external regulatory oversight.

IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses said: “The annual statements in respect of more than 2,500 publications are a now an established part of the UK press regulation calendar and a significant undertaking by both the press and IPSO.

“They are a transparent demonstration of IPSO’s regulatory functions of monitoring and improving compliance with the Editors’ Code and a significant acknowledgement of the authority of IPSO to scrutinise and monitor compliance with the standards the publishers have set themselves.”

The statements provide a rare, and sometimes candid, insight into the workings and ethos of the news media.

Publishers which attract more complaints, such as Telegraph Media Group and Associated Newspapers, go into great detail about their training and compliance procedures.

The statement of Spectator editor Fraser Nelson is more to the point.

He said: “As editor, I’m personally responsible not just for dealing with IPSO but for every sentence in the magazine – even the bits that I disagree with.

“Of course as with every member of Britain’s free press, our real standards are set not by any regulator but by our army of readers who expect the highest quality of argument, accurate facts and wide parameters of vibrant debate.”

The more extensive statement of the family-owned weekly Congleton Chronicle is a gem.

It says: “It is worth pointing out, in this era of strict regulation, that is not always newspapers in the wrong. This year we had one complainant who was incensed that on two occasions he threatened our staff and on the second occasion, police had to be called. This was for a court address that we reported correctly and the court confirmed was the address given in court

“As the old saying has it ‘The man who never made a mistake never made anything’ so mistakes go with the job. We have no problem with printing corrections and apologies. We see apologies as a way of maintaining our standing the community, and not as something to hide.”

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