IPSO Blog: Fighting fake news

Liam Tedds, Former Standards Officer, shares thoughts on the role IPSO plays in holding fake news to account and how readers can challenge it if they think what they’re reading is untrue.

Fake news is in the spotlight. But what’s the solution? 

I think it’s a thriving and accountable newspaper and magazine industry. One which the public can rely on to provide accurate reporting – not the fake ‘click bait’ your aunt has shared on Facebook or that your friend has just retweeted. 

As a press regulator, IPSO has an important part to play in this. We handle complaints and make rulings when articles are inaccurate. We can also make newspapers publish corrections or adjudications if they’ve got things wrong – and that includes articles on their websites. 

But the complaints process run by IPSO is only useful if the public know how to access it. Readers should be confident that what they’re reading is true. If they don’t think it is, they should know how to challenge it. 

We ensure that editors put information about how to make a complaint into every single one of their publications. If you haven’t noticed this in your paper, it’s most regularly on page two, in a corrections column, or on the readers’ letters page. Some publishers even wear regulation as a badge of honour and display IPSO’s logo in their publications. 

We’ve made it a requirement of membership that if a publisher receives a complaint, they have to tell the complainant about IPSO and about the Editors’ Code and their obligations to uphold it. We’ve contacted all of our publishers to get them to provide information about IPSO and the Editors’ Code in their publications or they have signed a written agreement saying they will do so. 

We require all of our member publishers to make a public declaration of their compliance with the Editors’ Code in an annual statement. In fact, IPSO’s regulations state that each submission must provide details about how the publisher ensures that their stories are verified. These statements are available on our website and any member of the public can see how each publisher commits to ensuring its stories are factual. 

More and more editors are seeing IPSO membership as a mark of quality journalism. We have a growing membership of publishers who want their readers to be sure that they are committed to upholding high editorial standards. 

In a world where anyone can create a web page and publish their own content, if it’s IPSO-regulated, readers can be sure that what they’re reading in their newspaper or magazine is true. It might be partisan, it might editorialise, it might campaign – but you can be sure that the news it reports isn’t fake. 

If you’re already an IPSO member and you would like to use our logo in your publications as a mark of quality, or if you’re not currently an IPSO member, but are interested in joining, please do get in touch with Rosemary Douce, Standards Officer, rosemary.douce@ipso.co.uk


Originally published 31 January 2017.