Changes to the IPSO Editors’ Code of Practice revealed

Posted: December 3, 2015

Background

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) Editors’ Code of Practice is to be updated.

Lord Justice Leveson launched an inquiry into press ethics and regulation in July 2011 further to the phone-hacking scandal. In the report which followed, recommendations were made as to the revision of the Editors’ Code of Practice. Critics of IPSO, the body that replaced the defunct PCC, have maintained that neither IPSO nor the Code are Leveson compliant.

Update

In a press release issued today (Thursday 3 December 2015), the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee announced that the revision of the Editors’ Code of Practice, and in particular the instalment of independent lay members to the Committee, represented a “landmark move fulfilling another Leveson recommendation”. Calling the changes a “landmark move” may prove to be an exaggeration, the changes to the Code itself will include:

  1. An extension to include “headlines not supported by the text” in the duty of the press to be accurate.
  2. The reporting of suicide has become a standalone clause.
  3. Gender identity is added to the list of categories covered by the discrimination clause.
  4. The duty of editors to maintain procedures to resolve complaints swiftly, and to cooperate with IPSO, has become enshrined in the Code’s preamble.
  5. The public interest definition and the circumstances in which editors can invoke it has been expanded which brings it in line with the Defamation Act 2013, Data Protection Act 1998 and Crown Prosecution Service guidance.

The effect of the revised Code, which comes into force on 1 January 2016, is yet to be seen, however, critics of IPSO have already branded the revisions as “cosmetic”.

Jessica Welch

Associate in the Reputation Protection Team