Public Consultation on Guidance on Reporting of Sex and Gender Identity

IPSO is the independent regulator of most of the UK’s newspapers, magazines, and digital news media. We protect people’s rights, uphold high standards of journalism and help to maintain freedom of expression for the press.  

Developing and publishing guidance is one means by which IPSO supports editors and journalists to raise editorial standards and comply with the Editors’ Code of Practice - the framework IPSO uses to regulate the press.

IPSO published its first piece of editorial guidance on researching and reporting stories involving transgender people in 2016 and focused primarily on case studies involving transgender individuals. In the period since, widespread coverage of gender diversity has continued and has come to encompass a much more complex range of gender identities and social issues. IPSO regularly receives requests from journalists and editors for advice on reporting in this area.

The spectrum of opinion on the reporting of sex and gender identity cannot be reconciled by the Editors' Code. The Code strikes a balance between the rights of the public to freedom of speech and the rights of the individual not to face personal discriminatory abuse. Freedom of expression must embrace the right to hold views that others might find distasteful and sometimes offensive. Nonetheless, the Editors' Code offers a valuable set of tried and tested guidelines that is designed to stand up well to differing contexts.

Background on consultation

This final draft guidance is intended to support editorial decision-making on reporting of sex and gender identity. It contains case studies of relevant decisions by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. 

In developing this final draft, IPSO has carried out a significant programme of engagement both with editors, with our own committees and advisory groups, and with relevant organisations with a wide range of views. 

We met a diverse range of stakeholders who held a variety of views on the reporting of sex and gender identity. However, IPSO was not able to meet with everyone and, to ensure this guidance is the best it can possibly be, we are running an open consultation to gain as much insight on the topic as possible from members of the public, journalists, academics, and anyone else who chooses to submit a response.

The consultation is now closed. 

View the response to the consultation here.

You may also wish to consult the Editors' Code of Practice.


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