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IPSO complaints officer Hugo Wallis speaks to Brighton Journalist Works students about the regulator's role

IPSO complaints officer Hugo Wallis speaks to Brighton Journalist Works students about the regulator’s role

Journalists must keep their notes to all their work for three years.

This was one tip Brighton Journalist Works students learned from a talk by the chap from the Independent Press Standards Organisation  (IPSO) when he came to talk to us.

Student Matthew Endeby lists seven more things  BJW learned about IPSO when Hugo Wallis came to call:

1.  There are no rules against taking photographs of children in a public place if they just happen to be there as part of the general scene.

News organisations must have permission to take photographs of children at school or for specific individuals when the child’s welfare is involved.

It is not a good idea to take pictures of individual children without parents’ permission.

2. Facebook. If people create public posts then it is difficult to complain about breach of privacy when anyone can see.

3  Not all media outlets are signed up to IPSO. Some have their own regulatory bodies. The Guardian has been vocal against the presence and benefits of IPSO and has its own in-house operation for complaints from the public.

4. When it comes to complaints of harassment, discrimination and subterfuge IPSO officers consider the balance between public interest and the human right to privacy.


5  Journalists must  introduce themselves and explain what they are doing, unless trying to reveal wrong-doing.

If complaints are made of subterfuge, a publication must state why its actions are in the public interest.

The Sun defended sending one of its journalists into charity fund-raising agency Pell and Bales when it suspected wrongdoing.

News organisations must have good grounds, not just head out on a fishing expedition to see what they can find.

6  IPSO would always prefer the media outlet offers retractions or amendments before the issue escalates. The first step of the complaints procedure is to check the media outlet has been made aware of the complaint.

If a glaring error has occurred, the outlet will often deal with it on its own.

7  Funding from the Regulatory Funding Company allows IPSO to operate without the presence of a state regulator. Lobby groups, such as Hacked Off, want more government control and legislation to manage the press.

However, after the Leveson inquiry following the phone hacking affair, the government stopped short of taking full control to maintain the integrity of the British free press.


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