Media regulation and feminism

Today we visited the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO). The main difference between US and UK journalism is that the UK does not have the first amendment right to freedom of the press, so they can legally be subject to regulations. IPSO is one of the media regulators. They created a framework for members of the press to abide by to maintain a healthy balance between freedom of information and privacy maintenance. The press enters a contract with IPSO to abide by their code of ethics, and it’s IPSO’s job to take consumer complaints about these organizations and intervene when they breach these standards. Entering IPSO is not mandatory, but organizations are incentivized to do so.

My favorite thing about IPSO is that they have a section that specifically outlines how journalists should report sexual assault crimes involving children. For instance, IPSO-regulated newspapers cannot print the survivor’s name if they are a minor. I think if the USA had their own version of IPSO, reporting rates might be higher.

However, journalists technically can break these policies, but they’ll be subject to fines.  Because of this, many UK-based journalists say that being regulated by IPSO is pointless.

Later, we went to lunch to meet with journalist, activist and founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Catherine Mayer. Speaking with someone who is passionate about feminism and cares enough to act on it was inspiring. One thing that stuck with me from our discussion is when Mayer said, “Equality shouldn’t be political; it’s just politicized.” I’m very excited about the future of the WEP and all of the amazing things they’re going to accomplish.

We ended our day with a visit from Ofcom, which is essentially the IPSO version of television, radio, telecommunications and postal services regulations. The people who spoke to us were quite interested in how American television operates, which was funny because a lot of us watch Netflix and use the internet for news, so television isn’t that prevalent anymore.

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