Thank you for contacting me about regulation of the press.
The majority of national newspapers are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), the independent regulator for most of the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK. IPSO has made continued improvements over the years by incorporating steps recommended by the Leveson Inquiry. This was confirmed in Sir Joseph Pilling’s 2016 review, which found IPSO had made important achievements in demonstrating it was an independent and effective regulator.
In the years since the Leveson Inquiry, many publishers have introduced comprehensive guidance on topics including accuracy and harassment. Where participating publishers fall short of their legal standards, IPSO offers support to victims of libel, slander or malicious falsehood in the form of low-cost arbitration, which offers quick access to fair and independent redress. IPSO can also take action against publishers that do not comply with the Editors’ Code of Practice, as it has done on many occasions. Given the impact that press coverage of events and people's lives can have, it is vital that editors and journalists and all those who work in the media hold themselves and are held to the highest standards.
On balance, I believe a free and sustainable press can exist without resorting to a statutory regulator.
The Online Harms White Paper is rightly focused on combatting the spread of horrific terrorist and extremist content. I welcome the publication of the initial response to the public consultation on the Paper. A wide range of companies will fall under its scope to ensure there are safeguards to keep UK users, particularly children, safe from illegal content and activity.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.