Readers upset about press coverage in many UK news outlets–and feel they have legal grounds for a case–can now go through the press regulator’s arbitration scheme. And, when this course of action is taken, the news outlet in question is required to arbitrate.
The UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation announced two years ago it was launching a “year-long arbitration pilot scheme” that was voluntary for handling legal disputes between news outlets and the public.
However, no cases were arbitrated in the time since the arbitration was first launched in 2016, an IPSO spokesperson told iMediaEthics. Now, “All national newspapers who are members of IPSO are on the compulsory scheme,” the spokesperson said; they agreed to sign up.
Further, the spokesperson noted Scottish newspapers aren’t affected — “The law is slightly different in Scotland – no Scottish publications are currently part of the compulsory scheme.”
According to the Press Gazette’s May article about the IPSO decision to update its scheme, “The regulator’s existing arbitration scheme, which is not compulsory, allows publishers to essentially cherry pick the cases they agree to arbitrate. However, it has not carried out any arbitrations under the voluntary scheme since it was established in 2016.”
The latest news, from July 31, 2018, is that “Anyone who has a valid legal claim against a newspaper taking part in the scheme can now make it through the IPSO scheme for a maximum fee of £100, and the newspaper has no choice but to arbitrate.”
The public can complain over libel, invasion of privacy, data protection and harassment, according to IPSO’s recent statement. “The new scheme will also include a higher level of damages: claimants can now be awarded up to £60,000, including aggravated damages.”
Previously, the cap was £50,000.
The compulsory arbitration scheme binds the following outlets:
- Daily Telegraph
- Sunday Telegraph
- Weekly Telegraph
- Daily Mail
- Mail on Sunday
- Metro, Times
- Sunday Times
- The Sun
- The Sun on Sunday
- Daily Express
- Sunday Express
- Daily Star
- Daily Mirror
- Sunday Mirror
- Sunday People