Clause 12 Monitoring

There has been significant debate and discussion about the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice and how IPSO applies the Code to the complaints it receives. IPSO publishes information on a quarterly basis about instances in which it has received more than ten complaints under Clause 12 about the same issue.

Clause 12 of the Editors’ Code of Practice deals with discrimination. It says the press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to a person’s race, colour, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability. It also states that these details should not be included in a story unless they are relevant.

In general, Clause 12 complaints can only be taken forward from the party directly affected – because the complaint might involve personal and sensitive information about a person, or we might not be able to investigate the complaint properly without their input. In certain cases, where there is a sufficient public interest, IPSO is also able to take complaints from representative groups affected by the alleged breach.

The information below gives a brief summary of the types of complaints received and the outcome. These statistics do not include any cases still under investigation or cases relating to any non-regulated publications; or cases where IPSO received fewer than 10 complaints. IPSO has not included those complaints in order to protect the confidentiality of complainants, who might otherwise be identifiable. In addition, cases where IPSO received more than ten complaints tend to raise broader issues around editorial standards.