I, along with Chief Executive Matt Tee, attended the conference of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe (AIPCE) in Bupapest, last week.
AIPCE is a loose network of independent content regulators for both press and broadcast media. While it maintains a European focus, it also welcomes representatives from other regulatory authorities to its meetings and activities from as far away as Australia.
Its annual conferences provides a forum to discuss topical issues, to exchange ideas and to offer and receive advice. It’s also an opportunity strengthen cooperation and communication between the various bodies which regulate the press and to learn more about what the various organisations are doing.
IPSO has always been supportive of AIPCE – and it is interesting to see how IPSO differs from other press councils.
For many AIPCE members, press freedom in their countries is an issue of equal importance to day to day press standards. Many of them handle fewer than 200 complaints a year, compared to our projected 30,000 for this year.
Nonetheless, it was thought-provoking to hear reports from AIPCE’s members, many focusing on issues around freedom of expression. Finland highlighted a very high profile complaint that they had dealt with involving the Prime Minister – many aspects of which would not have come within IPSO’s remit.
Other issues covered during the conference included coverage of terrorist incidents, fake news, the challenges of funding self-regulation, and a useful session with Facebook on integrity and credibility. These are subjects which often arise in IPSO’s work, and it was interesting to discuss how other regulators, with different structures and powers, approach these.
There was also a presentation on the current situation in Turkey and the pressures that are being faced by many journalists and broadcasters after the coup in 2016.
For me, the best part of the conference was sharing ideas and approaches with colleagues across Europe and the world. Press regulation is a “niche” area, and it is very useful to talk about IPSO’s work with people who are interested, and have their own experiences of regulating the press.
Next year the AIPCE conference will be heading to Helsinki. You can find out more about the work of AIPCE at www.aipce.net