CIPR statement on the Leveson Report

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has issued the following statement in response to the Leveson Report into the culture, practices and ethics of the press, published today.

In light of Lord Justice Leveson’s Report, the CIPR encourages the press to take the opportunity to build a strong, innovative and robust independent regime of self-regulation. It should commit itself as an industry that protects and promotes the highest standards of journalism, and negates any argument for the necessity of statutory regulation.

The freedom and plurality of the press is fundamental to a thriving democracy, with this independence also being vital to the professional practice of public relations. In order to preserve the fundamental freedom of the press, it is the CIPR’s belief that press regulation should be run by a new, independent, non-statutory body.

This body should build on previous models of regulation to be about more than complaints, covering media standards and ethics, and supported by a strong, non-statutory code of practice for journalists, that places an emphasis on professional development.

Without a free and open press, the public relations profession would be hindered in upholding its commitment to transparency, accountability and professional standards, as outlined in the CIPR’s code of conduct.

Any new body tasked with regulating media activity must understand and support the role that ‘blogs’ and other social media play as outlets for individual freedom of speech and expression.

Lord Leveson’s report shows that active steps must be taken to rebuild public trust and confidence in the professional standards of the press and the integrity of their relationships with groups such as politicians and the police, in light of the clear abuses of individuals freedom, as laid out in the report.

The CIPR also supports the recommendation that police press officers be present at briefings and discussions between senior police officers and representatives of the media. This acknowledgement of the expertise and support provided by public relations professionals underlines the need for them to be accountable to a code of conduct as well.

The CIPR is clear that professionalism in both journalism and public relations, particularly openness and honesty, is key to our democracy, promotes healthy public discourse and encourages accurate reportage. Accountability to clear and publicly agreed and available standards is the only way to rebuild public trust in journalism.
Chartered Institute of Public Relations

On Monday 3 December, live at 5pm, CIPR TV will debate the Leveson Report with guests Michelle Stanisforth, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, and CIPR CEO Jane Wilson.

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.

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