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October 23, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:42am

Times and Express titles top press regulator IPSO’s annual naughty list

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Express website and Times newspaper were the newsbrands with the most breaches of the Editors’ Code of Practice in 2019, according to press regulator IPSO.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation, the UK’s largest press regulator, ruled that both titles had breached editorial standards four times last year.

Mirror, Express and Star publisher Reach –  the largest commercial publisher in the UK, had the most complaints upheld against it (19) -followed by Times and Sun publisher News UK (13).

Together with the Times website and Sunday Times, the Times brand was found to be in breach the most times (seven) followed by the combined Express and Sun titles with five each.

Mail Online was the title with most articles (30) investigated by IPSO, but only recorded one breach in standards. This rises to 53 complaints and three breaches if combined with the Mail’s two newspaper titles.

The Express website was the second most likely to trouble IPSO’s doors, with 23 article complaints dealt with by the regulator, followed by The Sun with 21.

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Of those with no breaches, the Mirror website had the most complaints dealt with by IPSO (16). It was able to resolve almost all of them with the complainant before any decision on standards was made.

In its newly published annual report for 2019, IPSO chief executive Charlotte Dewar said research showed the time taken to correct inaccuracies had fallen from a median of six days to three since the organisation was established five years ago.

She also said that 90% of corrections published in a corrections column were on a more prominent page than the original article.

In total, IPSO upheld 55 complaints in 2019 out of 621 complaints investigated as potentially in breach of the Editors’ Code. Some 207 were able to be resolved between the publisher and the complainant.

IPSO said it has since received a record number of complaints in 2020.

Its chairman Lord Faulks said: “Even in these challenging times people continue to utilise our service, and in dealing with these complaints IPSO is providing a valuable service to the public and to regulated publishers.”

Not all national newsbrands are regulated by IPSO, with some choosing to self-regulate.

The Financial Times published two complaint adjudications in 2019, one of which was ruled to be a breach of the sourcing and attribution section of its editorial code.

The Guardian’s internal review panel investigated seven complaints in 2019, one of which was upheld.

The Evening Standard and Independent do not have a public list of complaints reviewed. Owner ESI Media has been contacted for information.

Royal Charter-recognised regulator Impress, which mainly regulates hyperlocal, specialist or partisan websites, received 46 complaints in its reporting period of 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

Of these, one each was upheld at left-wing website Skwawkbox and the right-wing Unity News Network. Five were investigated and dismissed.

The Canary again received the most complaints during the period (20) but none were escalated to Impress.

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