About us / Who we are
Our people

Our expert panels and committees

The Impress Board and staff team are supported by a number of expert panels and committees. These groups also play a core role in the function of our regulatory scheme.

Our Code is the ultimate responsibility of the Impress Board. The Code Committee is composed of experts who are responsible for advising the Board on the Code, and for drafting our guidance on the Code. The Committee was recruited through a fair and open process.

Andrea Wills

Andrea has exceptional experience in broadcasting regulation, standard setting, and investigating serious editorial failings in the UK and Australia. She was Independent Editorial Adviser to the BBC Trust and investigated over 60 complaints about BBC content over the decade it existed. She began her career as a journalist and news editor in local radio, moved to television as an executive producer, before joining the BBC’s Editorial Policy team as its Chief Adviser. In Australia she worked for the ABC in Sydney, conducting independent reviews of broadcast content, developing editorial and media ethics standards, and training senior journalists. Andrea is on the Appeals Panel for the Video Standards Council Rating Board and is vice-chair of the board of the West Country based Learn@Multi-Academy Trust and chair of its Quality and Standards Committee.

Cordella Bart-Stewart OBE

Cordella has over 30 years’ experience as a solicitor and established her own general legal practice in North London in 1990. She has a strong interest in equality and human rights issues and has specialised in family and immigration law for over 25 years. She has been a fee paid Judge of the First Tier Tribunal since 2000. Formerly an independent Governor of Staffordshire University, which awarded her an Honorary Doctorate. She is a Chartered Manager and Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. She is a serving Director and founding member of the award winning Black Solicitors Network, was shortlisted as the Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2014 and is a member of the Council of Law Society of England & Wales. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours list for services to the Legal Profession and to Diversity and Education.

Shelina Janmohamed

Shelina is an author, public speaker and newspaper columnist. She has written for publications such as The Telegraph, The Guardian, the BBC and Campaign Magazine, and is a regular opinion columnist in The National UAE. She works in the advertising and branding industry and has worked with some of the world’s biggest companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Nestle. She sits as an advisor on WPP’s Inclusion Board as well as the Inclusion Board for Ogilvy. She is a globally recognised expert on Muslim consumer trends. She has been named one of the UK’s 100 most powerful Muslim women.

David Leigh

David was Anthony Sampson professor of reporting at City, University of London 2006-18. Until he retired from the paper in 2013, he was investigations editor at The Guardian for 13 years. In a journalism career spanning over 40 years he also worked for The Observer, The Times, The Scotsman, Granada TV, Thames TV and the Washington Post. He has won numerous journalism awards including Investigation of the Year 2015 (British Journalism Awards), Lifetime Achievement Award 2013, Global Investigative Journalism Network, and awards at the British Press Awards in 1979,1996 and 1997. His latest book is Investigative Journalism – a survival guide.

Vanessa Baird

Vanessa is an Associate and Contributing Editor of New Internationalist magazine. Her journalistic career, spanning four decades, includes local newspapers and radio in the UK and working in Peru during the tumultuous 1980s. As co-editor and writer at New Internationalist, she has focused on issues relating to human rights, and social, economic and environmental justice, publishing in magazines and books. She is an Amnesty International Human Rights Media Award winner and has a keen interest in media independence, ethics and reform.

Gavin Phillipson

Gavin is a Professor of Law at the University of Bristol and has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Melbourne and the LSE. He is author of Media Freedom under the UK Human Rights Act (2006, OUP) and has written over twenty articles and book chapters on media and free speech issues including the right to be forgotten. His work on privacy has been cited by the highest courts in the UK and overseas and he has spoken on media freedom and other issues at leading Universities around the world in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and the Netherlands. He was the academic member of the Ministry of Justice Working Group on libel reform and his work in that area was cited extensively by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Matt Walsh

Matt is a senior lecturer in journalism at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University and former head of the department of journalism, media and performance studies at the University of Northampton. Prior to joining the University of Northampton in 2014, he spent 20 years as a journalist in broadcast and digital media. In 1999, Matt joined ITN from the BBC as a reporter and rose to become deputy editor of the ITV News Channel. He covered stories such as the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq war and the 7/7 suicide bombings. He also executive produced political programmes, including ITV’s coverage of the 2004 American presidential election. In 2006, he moved to The Times to establish the multimedia journalism department before returning to ITN as an executive producer. Matt combines teaching with industry work for international organisations, such as Thomson Reuters and Al Jazeera, and writing a PhD on the impact of social media on political journalism.

Dr Paul Wragg

Dr Wragg is a Professor of Media Law at the University of Leeds. His research speciality is in press regulation and press freedom. He has written extensively about the Leveson inquiry into press culture and its compatibility with the notion of press freedom. His work has been published in leading journals in the UK and abroad. He was recently cited by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its inquiry into Australian privacy law. Author of  ‘A Free and Regulated Press: Defending Coercive Independent Press Regulation’ (Hart Publishing, 2020) and co-editor of ‘Comparative Privacy and Defamation’ (Edward Elgar, 2020) with Professor András Koltay.

Paul Hutchinson

Paul has had a 20-year media career which has taken him from a reporter at a local radio station to Deputy Editor of what was then the country’s largest commercial radio news hub, to joining forces with other like-minded news gatherers to set up digital news desk the Bedford Independent, the most widely read publication in their patch. Amongst all this, Paul has also worked on the other side of the news fence, providing PR and Marketing support in the public sector and private sectors such as law, film, music, and education, where he developed a passion and expertise in modern digital news channels including ever evolving and emerging social media platforms. Paul is fiercely passionate about fighting fake news, promoting responsible and accurate journalism, and empowering younger writers of all backgrounds and opinions to become the responsible and ethical journalists of the future.

Dr Craig Gent

Dr Gent is an editor, writer, researcher, and Head of Operations at Novara Media, an IMPRESS-regulated independent multimedia outlet which seeks to address the defining issues of the 21st century. He has taught on various topics within digital media, media sociology and journalism ethics, and holds an interdisciplinary PhD from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick, for which he studied the workplace politics of algorithmic media. As a writer his work has appeared in a number of outlets both domestically and internationally, and as an academic he has spoken to a wide range of audiences in the UK, Europe and the US. He is currently turning his academic research into a book on the politics of algorithms.

Susan McKay

Susan is an Irish writer and journalist with 30 years of experience. Her recent work has appeared in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, the Guardian/Observer, the Irish Times and other publications, and she was formerly the Northern Ireland editor of the Sunday Tribune and a columnist with the Irish News. Her books are about the NI conflict and peace process, human rights issues and feminism, and she has won several awards for her journalism and documentaries. She is currently writing a book about borders, for which she was awarded an Arts Council NI major individual award, and her book “Northern Protestants – On Shifting Ground” is to be published in April 2021. She is acting as consultant on a series of documentaries about the disappearances of young women in NI for the BBC, and is one of the judges for the Ewart Biggs literary award for work that contributes to peace and reconciliation.

Peter Coe

Peter is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Reading, where he specialises in Media Law. Prior to joining Reading in September 2019 he was a practising barrister specialising in privacy, defamation and reputation management, having been Called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 2007. He has also previously held a Senior Lectureship in Law at Aston University. Peter’s research has led to him being invited to join the Information Law and Policy Centre at the University of London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies as a Research Associate in May 2018, and in 2020 he was appointed as an Advisor to the University of East London’s Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit. Since 2020, he has been part of an IMPRESS Advisory Group that has provided guidance on the creation of a new regulatory scheme and, during 2021-22, he will act as the United Kingdom’s National Reporter on ‘Freedom of Speech and the Regulation of Fake News’ for the British Association of Comparative Law.

The Business Development & Communications Committee provides communications and engagement advice, support and guidance to the Executive and the Board.

Pam Vick

Pam is a highly regarded commercial business development and strategic consultant to boards. She is an Ambassador for Women on Boards UK and one of Boardroom Advisors’ most experienced Advisors, an organisation that provides part-Time CEOs, exec directors and NEDs internationally. Pam is also a NED on the board of Hendeca, a specialist health and safety provider, a Trustee of The British Ecological Society, sits on an Advisory Board for the charity DEBRA, is a member of the Chairman’s Network, and has contributed to advertising effectiveness textbooks and articles including IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards.

Richard Ayre

Richard has had a career in journalism spanning forty years, beginning in the early 1970s at the BBC in Belfast and going on to become the corporation’s controller of editorial policy and deputy chief executive of BBC News. He is a former member of the Ofcom Content Board and chair of its Broadcast Review Committee, and also chaired Article 19, the international freedom of expression charity. For fourteen years he was the Law Society’s freedom of information adjudicator before returning to the BBC as a member of the BBC Trust and chair of its editorial standards committee.

David Robinson

David is Non-Executive Director and Audit and Compliance Committee Chair of Forester Life (UK), Trustee of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a member of the Beirat (Advisory Board) of Community Life GmbH (Germany) and a lay member of the Investigations Committee of the Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He is a former Governor and Audit & Risk Committee Chair of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, former Chair of the charity ‘Smalls for All’ and former Trustee of board diversity charity, ‘Changing the Chemistry’. An actuary, he was the founder and former CEO of life insurer Bright Grey (Royal London).

Deborah Arnott

Deborah is Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and former Impress Board member.

The Finance & Audit Committee provides independent oversight of and advice to the Impress Board on the adequacy and effectiveness of the organisation’s financial control and reporting systems, recommends to the Members the appointment of suitable external auditors, and advises the Board on Internal Audit arrangements as well as ensuring that adequate levels of external and internal audit are maintained.

David Robinson

David is Non-Executive Director and Audit and Compliance Committee Chair of Forester Life (UK), Trustee of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a member of the Beirat (Advisory Board) of Community Life GmbH (Germany) and a lay member of the Investigations Committee of the Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He is a former Governor and Audit & Risk Committee Chair of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, former Chair of the charity ‘Smalls for All’ and former Trustee of board diversity charity, ‘Changing the Chemistry’. An actuary, he was the founder and former CEO of life insurer Bright Grey (Royal London).

Pam Vick

Pam is a highly regarded commercial business development and strategic consultant to Boards. She is an Ambassador for Women on Boards UK and an Advisor for of Boardroom Advisors, an organisation that provides part-Time CEOs, MDs, and NEDs internationally.Pam is a Trustee of The British Ecological Society, sits on an Advisory Board for the charity DEBRA, is a member of the Chairman’s Network, and has contributed to advertising effectiveness textbooks and articles including IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards.

Debrah Harding

Debrah has worked on behalf of the research sector for over 20 years. As Managing Director of the Market Research Society (MRS), Debrah leads on its standards, policy and public affairs activities, working extensively with government departments and global institutions. Debrah has a wealth of knowledge of ethical Codes, quality standards, guidelines and data protection/GDPR and their enforcement. Debrah is also Chair of the Global Business Research Network (GRBN), Vice-President of the European Research Federation (EFAMRO), a member of the BSI Standards Policy & Strategy Committee.

James Flint

James Flint is the internationally acclaimed author of four novels: Habitus, 52 Ways to Magic America, The Book of Ash and, most recently, Midland. In 2002 his short story ‘The Nuclear Train’ was adapted for Channel 4, and his journalism has appeared in Wired, the Guardian and Dazed & Confused among others. Previously editor-in-chief of the Telegraph’s weekly world edition, he is now co-founder and CEO of the health communications start-up Hospify.

Supplementary Regulatory Committee members are non-Board members, independently appointed by the Appointment Panel to sit on Regulatory Committees alongside Board members and advise on regulatory outcomes.

Regulatory Committees meet to adjudicate on complaints that are made to Impress or are initiated by Impress, about the published content, news gathering activities or internal governance standards of regulated publications. All members are highly experienced in journalism or media law, have experience of fair and impartial decision making and are independent of the press and government.

Iain Christie

Ian is a mediator, facilitator and coach with a background as a barrister in human rights and media law. He began his career as a legal adviser at the Foreign Office representing the UK in international treaty negotiations and in cases before the European Court of Human Rights. Between 2000 and 2017 he was a member of 5RB, the media and information law chambers, where he co-founded the leading textbook Tugendhat and Christie: The Law of Privacy and the Media. He is now an Associate member of 4 -5 Gray’s Inn Square, Chair of the Bar Standards Board Independent Decision-making Body and a Policy Fellow to the Lord Chancellor.

Professor Claire de Than

Professor Claire de Than is an award-winning senior legal academic of more than 25 years’ standing, and a Jersey Law Commissioner, currently working on a Criminal Code and on laws relating to open justice. She has over 85 legal publications in total, including 15 books, chapters in leading legal monographs and edited collections, and articles in a variety of leading national and international journals, including the Modern Law Review and the Criminal Law Review. Her publications and reform proposals have been adopted by governments, regulators and professions. Her research fields include media law, criminal law, comparative law of tiny jurisdictions, human rights law and disability law, all of which she also teaches. She has been an expert for the Law Commission of England and Wales on two recent projects, and made many media appearances. She has advised several governments and many organisations on human rights and law reform issues.

Chris Elliott

Chris Elliott has been a journalist for more than 40 years on UK regional and national newspapers. He left the Guardian four years ago, where his last role was as the readers’ editor, an internal ombudsman dealing with complaints and the ethics of journalism. He is now a freelance editorial consultant. Chris is a former Director of the Ethical Journalism Network, and has trained and lectured widely in Africa, Turkey and Europe on the principles of ethical journalism and good governance. He has also been a member of the United Kingdom’s national journalism training body, the NCTJ and was also a trustee of the International News Safety Institute (INSI), a director of the Society of Editors, a member of the Nomination Committee of the Reuters Founders Share Company, and a former chair of Concern Worldwide UK, an international aid charity. His areas of special interest include media law, diversity and training, especially for working journalists interested in self-regulation and good governance in journalism, in hostile environments.

Ato Erzan-Essien

Ato Erzan-Essien is a senior lecturer in Journalism at the University of Chester where he teaches law, ethics and research methods and specialises in researching notions of journalistic professionalism. A former editor of The Big Issue in the North magazine, he also worked as a news reporter for the Lancashire Evening Post and held various sub-editor roles at Ananova, The Bury Times and The Bolton Evening News. He lives in Bolton, Lancashire with Leigh his wife of 27 years and their three teenage daughters. In his spare time he is a keen gardener, runner and qualified athletics coach.

Conor Heaney

Conor Heaney is a solicitor in private practice in Northern Ireland since 1997. In that time, he has acted on behalf of claimants in defamation actions and civil proceedings generally both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Conor has a particular interest in professional regulation and discipline. He holds appointments as a legal adviser to a number of healthcare regulatory bodies in Northern Ireland and England. He is the deputy Chair of the Statutory Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. Conor also acts on behalf of professional clients, including doctors, accountants and solicitors, who are the subject of investigation by their respective regulatory bodies.

Paul Herbert

Paul Herbert is a practising solicitor of 35 years’ experience, most of which has been in the area of media law. He is well versed in all aspects of the law governing the publication of content, both editorial and advertising. During Paul’s long career he has acted for broadcasters, regulatory bodies, producers, authors, publishers, advertisers, journalists, performers and content platforms. Paul has been involved in several leading media law cases and regulatory investigations. He has lectured extensively in media law subjects to journalists and programme makers and is regular conference speaker on media law subjects.

Rachel Matthews

Rachel Matthews s an academic with a research focus on the form, content and provision of local news and community media. She has written on the history of the local newspaper as a distinct media form and applies the understanding this brings to contemporary news practice. Rachel’s expertise draws on her extensive professional background as a qualified news journalist working across regional and local newspapers. In addition to a National Certificate in Newspaper Journalism, gained in 1991, she holds a BA from the University of East Anglia and doctorate from the School of Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University. Rachel is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and chair of the Local and Community Media Network of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association. She is currently Associate Head of School for Research in the School and Performing Arts at Coventry University.

Liz Munro

Liz Munro is a journalist with over 30 years’ experience in broadcast and print media, and now runs her own consultancy which advises broadcasters and video on demand providers on regulation, ethics and journalism. Her previous roles include Head of Editorial Compliance across BBC English Regions’ 12 television and 39 radio stations. She spent 10 years as an on-screen BBC TV news reporter followed by roles as a TV, radio news programme and documentaries producer and an editorial policy adviser to all programme genres. She specialised in covering criminal trials both at home and abroad including cases in France using her fluent French. As head of editorial compliance she oversaw investigative programmes and advised on the use of undercover filming. After graduating in French and Russian at Keele University she was a graduate editorial trainee at Morgan Grampian and worked as a national news reporter for Pulse, a magazine for general medical practitioners. Among related interests, Liz is also a regular judge in the Royal Television Society television news awards.