The Press Recognition Panel (PRP) has today confirmed that IMPRESS continues to meet each of the 29 standards set out in the PRP’s Royal Charter. This means that, amongst other things, IMPRESS is independent of the print and online publishers it regulates, is appropriately funded, and has systems in place to protect the public.
The announcement follows the first ‘cyclical review’ of IMPRESS by the PRP since the regulator was recognised in October 2016.
The aim of a cyclical review is to check that a regulator continues to meet the Royal Charter criteria.
The process involved a public consultation, which ran from Thursday 29 November 2018 to Wednesday 9 January 2019. The PRP Board considered IMPRESS’ application in public at a meeting today.
David Wolfe QC, Chair of the PRP Board, said:
“Following a detailed and thorough re-assessment, the PRP Board has determined that IMPRESS still meets the 29 criteria in the Royal Charter, so it continues to be recognised as an approved regulator.
“IMPRESS is the only press regulator that has successfully applied to be independently assessed against the Royal Charter criteria. The Charter and its criteria were devised following the Leveson inquiry, and they play key a role in ensuring the freedom of the press while protecting the interests of the public.”
In England and Wales, the Charter sits alongside the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Since 3 November 2015, under the Act, publishers who are not a member of an approved regulator could face the threat of exemplary damages in egregious privacy cases – a regime previously unknown in the English or Welsh systems of press litigation. Publishers who are members of an approved regulator would be protected from this.
All the information considered by the PRP Board when making its decision will be published on the PRP’s website within 30 days, along with any supporting documentation, the PRP’s assessment report and the Board’s final decision.
The next cyclical review is due to take place in three years. However, the PRP can conduct an ad hoc review before then if there are exceptional circumstances that make it necessary to do so, and there is a significant public interest in a review being undertaken.