Sir Alan Moses, Chairman, Independent Press Standards Organisation

A VIGOROUS and trenchant press is as important now as it has ever been. Just look in the pages of this newspaper and you can see the role The Herald, like other national newspapers, plays in everyday Scottish life.

The Herald has, like the vast majority of the press, demonstrated its belief in the value of maintaining and improving the standards of journalism by its commitment to regulation by The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

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But what is press regulation?

How does it work and serve the public?

How can it assist in maintaining and improving the authority and value of newspapers?

And how can those newspapers maintain their relevance in an era where social media plays an increasingly important part in people’s lives?

To mark the third anniversary of IPSO, we hope these and other questions which concern the public will be answered or at least discussed on September 18 at Glasgow Caledonian University* at a “Town Hall” style meeting with a question and answer session and panel discussion, chaired by Rona Dougall from STV’s Scotland Tonight.

Let me, as chairman of IPSO, give a taste of what we wish to discuss in explaining IPSO’s purpose and how it works.

The public deserves protection from abuse: the abuse of inaccuracy and distortion; of intrusion or invasion into personal dignity; and of harassment. I want to show at this meeting how IPSO works hard to provide protection, but wants the press to continue to be rumbustious, entertaining and informative.

IPSO deals with the overwhelming majority of the press in its printed and online versions.

We regulate 86 publishers, more than 1,100 print titles, 1,500 websites and more than 95 per cent of national newspapers by circulation, almost all local newspapers and all the major magazine publishers.

Daily we deal with complaints about the press, but our work is not confined to this.

We develop, in our Standards department, processes by which the press are monitored; we work with members of the community who feel oppressed by press coverage; and we work with editors and journalists daily to improve press standards.

I hope this meeting will be an opportunity for the public, community groups, local politicians and journalism students to hear from the press regulator and ask questions of an expert media panel.

Joining myself and Rona will be Graeme Smith, Editor of The Herald; Murray Foote, Group Editor, Media Scotland (Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd) and Ben McConville, Head of Department, Social Sciences, Media and Journalism at GCU.

Three years on from the formation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, I believe more than ever that newspapers like The Herald are key to our democracy and to social discourse.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in how the press works and is regulated to come to the meeting and contribute to what I hope will be a stimulating evening.

* Monday, September 18, 6.30-8pm at Hamish Wood Building, Glasgow Caledonian University. Please email vikki.julian@ipso.co.uk to confirm attendance.