Press watchdog received a record-breaking amount of complaints and enquiries in 2017

More than 20,000 complaints were made to the Independent Press Standards Organisation last year, according to figures published today in their Annual Report, up from nearly 15,000 in 2016. 

2017 saw a large number of ‘multiple’ complaints, where more than one similar complaint was made about the same article, which has contributed to the high number of complaints received. Unsurprisingly, newspapers with the largest circulations received the highest number of complaints with The Sun topping the list of most complaints received  with 4,847 complaints, followed by the Daily Mail (4,176), Mail Online (3,536), Metro (1,500) and The Mail on Sunday (1,452). In 2017 The Sun’s publisher News UK had 12 complaints upheld and 30 not upheld. Associated (Daily Mail, Mail Online, Mail on Sunday, Metro) had 10 complaints upheld and 24 complaints not upheld.

The regulator also issued 57 Private Advisory Notices last year, bringing the total number it has issued since it was founded in 2014 to 150. IPSO, which regulates over 90% of national newspapers, has the power to issue these notices where there are concerns about potential press intrusion.

One of IPSO’s key achievements last year was the introduction of the IPSO Mark. In an era where the public’s trust in journalism has been undermined because of the rise of ‘fake news’, the mark is a way in which IPSO-regulated newspapers, magazines and their websites can demonstrate that they embrace high editorial standards and public accountability.

The Annual Report also details how the regulator monitors wider standards concerns, engages with the public and includes further information on its arbitration scheme, which recently became compulsory for all the national daily newspapers it regulates.

Writing in the Annual Report, Sir Alan Moses, Chairman of IPSO, said that the regulator ensured that editors and journalists operate to the highest standards, helping publications distinguish themselves from the “babble on the web.”

He added:

“Even a glance at the Editors’ Code Handbook will reveal the extent to which IPSO’s rulings govern the way journalists and editors behave.

Some of our decisions are unwelcome, not just to complainants but to editors as well. But they are our decisions; they are not the decision of politicians, nor of those we regulate, nor of anyone else.

They are reached conscientiously and independently. We have a high proportion of complainants who say they are pleased with our help and support. As for editors, they have no choice but to obey our rulings."