Why the IPSO code is cracking

When you’re trying to prove your industry has cleaned up its act, it helps to have the people who’ve done the most to expose wrongdoing on your side.

So it’s pleasing to see that The Guardian might be moving closer to joining the new press regulator IPSO.

Led by possibly the bravest editor in the country, the Guardian blazed a trail in exposing the worst excesses of its fellow nationals on harassment and hacking.

For IPSO to get it – and the Independent and the Financial Times – on board would be a very significant coup.

It would achieve a strength and depth in numbers that would demonstrate commitment to the highest possible ethical standards but also help cement press solidarity in the face of threats such as the police’s enthusiasm for spying on journalists’ phone records.

As I enter a new round of preparing younger journalists for NCTJ exams, the IPSO Editors’ Code of Practice is very much on my mind.

I’ve gone through it again today before writing this to check that it meets the ethical challenges of the 21st century.

Are there issues it fails to tackle in the digital age?

I have to say there aren’t any that spring readily to mind.

It’s the best framework we’ve got for journalism that gets the balance right between nailing the truth and treating people properly.

I am beginning to know it inside out now.

If you’re a journalist, whether or not you’re about to take an exam, you should, too.


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