I do not have confidence in the independence or effectiveness of IPSO and the Editors’ Code Committee, on account of IPSO’s failure to meet the standard of “Recognition” as assessed by the Press Recognition Panel.
Nonetheless, this submission highlights several areas where the Code is in urgent need of improvement and reform which I hope the Committee will consider.
Defending quality journalism
The public should have a right to know whether articles are the product of journalistic inquiry, or the result of a financial agreement with a private company. Companies should not be able to "buy" positive coverage through favourable advertising deals, and any coverage sponsored or paid for by a private company should be clearly labelled as such.
There should be a new clause on honesty and transparency which requires that newspapers must make clear where editorial content has been paid for or influenced by a third party, or where content has been omitted on the basis of deference to a third party, such as (but not limited to) an advertiser or sponsor.
There must be rules prohibiting plagiarism, so that journalists receive the credit they are entitled to.
The Code should be amended to require newspapers and their websites to stop plagiarising the work of others. To re-publish a story published elsewhere, permission should be sought, credit given and – for online publication – a link to the original story. Any failure to do this should be apologised for with equal prominence and promptly.