Seven thingsImpress knowsto be true.

At Impress, we are passionate about creating a world where trusted information can thrive. Our vision is driven by two operating principles: acknowledging the hard truth that we currently do not live in a world where trusted information is readily accessible; and recognising the widespread support there is to bring about the change we desire.

In the coming years, as we embark on a mission to foster a society bound by a collective commitment to truth, we will lay out our operating truths. These truths will be revisited over time to track our progress and so you too can hold us accountable.

Public trust in the news is at

an all time low.

The ever-changing news landscape, alongside the growth in digital tech, has resulted in a steady decline of public trust in news media. In 2022, Impress conducted extensive public research and we found that, Public trust in the news media is split between those that trust it (49%) and those that distrust it (48%); the public hold even less trust in its practitioners, journalists, who are trusted by only 39% of the public. In addition to this, the rise of AI, has given more space to misinformation, polarised isolation and the undermining of a shared reality. Poor ethical standards have become more entrenched in recent years as a failing economic model for news has led the industry to cut corners, prioritise clickbait and downplay the ethical challenges of publishing online.

Freedom of speech and responsible reporting

go hand in hand.

As Uncle Ben once said to Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Free speech rights grant all of us the liberty to express ourselves, those freedoms are best enjoyed when those responsible for reporting the news provide the public with access to reliable and accurate information and are accountable when mistakes are made. Free speech and accountability, together, form a symbiotic relationship that maintains a healthy and informed society. Hence, in our Standards Code, created for news providers and the public, it states, “The purpose of the Code is to help journalists create high-quality work in the public interest, balanced with respect for the rights and interests of everyone involved. It is not intended to restrict freedom of expression.“

Independent press

self-regulation works.

There have always been concerns about the potential for partisanship and politicisation in press regulation. Impress, set up in 2015, has been subject to high levels of due scrutiny. That’s why we are proud to be the only press regulator that is recognised as independent and effective by the Press Recognition Panel, an independent non-government body established under the Royal Charter on Self-Regulation of the Press. Additionally, Impress is currently funded through a charitable foundation, the Independent Press Regulation Trust, which operates independently from government, political organisations, and commercial interests. Through independent governance and oversight, and uncompromised funding, Impress demonstrates a meaningful commitment to transparency, accountability, and the public interest.

Empowering diverse voices is

vital to democracy.

In a democratic society, it is crucial that all individuals, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to participate in public discourse and shape the decisions that affect their lives. Impress promotes inclusivity and plurality within the industry to ensure it reflects and represents diverse perspectives, by establishing a regulatory framework that encourages fair and equitable treatment of all individuals and communities. Impress actively engages with different communities, organisations, and stakeholders to ensure their views and concerns are considered in the regulatory process. The complaints-handling mechanism at Impress allows individuals and communities from minorities to challenge misrepresentation, discrimination, and lack of inclusivity in newsgathering and reporting.

More fair, more fun.

In the sports world, there is a special emphasis on the idea of ‘equal opportunity’ where efforts are made to create a fair and level playing field by eliminating advantages or disadvantages so everyone playing can enjoy the game. By promoting fairness, diversity, and accountability, Impress seeks to create an environment where all news providers, regardless of size or influence, have an equal opportunity to thrive and contribute to a dynamic media ecosystem. We work to bridge the gap between established media organisations and emerging platforms, empowering smaller news providers and giving them a voice. By providing a level playing field, Impress helps foster competition and innovation, making the news industry more bold, exciting and ready to face on the changes ahead.

Alone we can do so little;

together, we can do so much.

These Helen Keller words ring true when we acknowledge that the crisis of public trust in news media is not something that can be overcome by one single person, group or organisation. It requires the coordination of multiple stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, news organisations, journalists and practitioners, civil society and the public. By recognising the collective power we all have, we can build on our existing regulatory framework to make a system of self-regulation that is robust and enduring, fostering public trust in news. Impress is focused on achieving this through our commitment to public participation and consultation on our core governing articles, the Standards Code and our Regulatory Scheme. By collaborating with others and promoting co-created standards, Impress strives to enable a media landscape that reflects as many diverse perspectives as possible.

The time for action is NOW.

Since the Leveson Inquiry over a decade ago, public and industry debate about the recommendations, the Royal Charter and its application to news organisations has been shelved. Meanwhile, discrimination, inaccuracy and intrusion are still rife throughout parts of the press. In 2023, we are all conscious that proactive and decisive measures are needed to ensure the press self-regulate in an effective way, building consensus with the public about what standards apply to newsgathering practices. Delaying action will only have harmful consequences for the industry and the wider society it serves. Making and accessing news today is marked by numerous challenges, including disinformation, fake news, declining trust, news alienation and ethical dilemmas with the advance of new technology. Impress acknowledges the need to confront these issues head-on, and will work to implement measures to mitigate the worst impacts, and safeguard the integrity of journalism. Our Standards Code, recently updated in 2023 to reflect the changing circumstances, provides the most relevant and up to date guidance to the media industry on how to tackle these issues.