Media Standards Trust poll shows IPSO falls short of public expectations for a new press regulator

  • Almost seven in ten of the public (68%) believe that it is important that a new system of press self-regulation is periodically reviewed by a Recognition Panel. 14% believe it is not important
  • Less than one-in-five (17%) would have confidence in a new system of self-regulation set up by major newspaper publishers, if the system is not reviewed by an independent Recognition Panel. 67% would have ‘not much’ or ‘no’ confidence in such a system
  • 67% think there is a risk that if most newspapers join IPSO and it does not seek recognition, there will be a repeat of unethical and illegal practices. 8% think there will be no risk.

A YouGov poll of 3,921 British adults, commissioned by the Media Standards Trust and conducted on 2nd-4th June 2014, shows that the public supports independent oversight and periodic review of any new system of press self-regulation.


The public’s position on the need for periodic independent review of a new press regulator by a Recognition Panel as recommended by the Leveson Report, and set up by a Royal Charter, places it at odds with the newspaper industry’s proposed new regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). IPSO has said it will not seek independent review by the Recognition Panel, and that it does not meet the criteria Leveson set out to achieve recognition.


The lack of public confidence in a system of self-regulation set up by major newspaper publishers that is not reviewed independently has remained consistent for over a year (based on the results of three previous YouGov polls from May, July and October 2013). The public’s belief that there is a risk of a repeat of illegal and unethical practices if most newspapers do not seek recognition has also remained consistently high over the same period.


The public believe that any new press regulator should provide an arbitration service and that publishers should be required to offer this service (rather than it being optional).


69% think it is important that a new press regulator set up a low-cost arbitration service, with 12% thinking it is not important. 58% think that a new regulator should require all newspapers that sign up to offer access to arbitration. Only 14% think that arbitration should be optional. At present, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) – the newspaper industry’s proposed new regulator – does not guarantee arbitration, and allows members to opt out on a case-by-case basis.


The public do not think that a regulator’s funding body should have powers over the regulator itself. 52% think that a regulator’s funding body should have no powers over the operation of a new regulator, while 17% think it should have some powers. The IPSO system currently gives the Regulatory Funding Company (RFC) a range of powers over regulations, standards and appointments.


Newspaper readers are split over what their newspaper should do next. 42% do not know or do not mind what regulation their own favoured newspaper is subject to. 39% would be disappointed if their newspaper did not join IPSO. 18% would be disappointed if their newspaper did join IPSO.


The full poll results are available at YouGov here (pdf).


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total Sample was 3,921 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 4th June 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by their rules.