Thank you to those who have contacted me about privacy laws in the UK.
I believe that a vibrant, open and free press that is able to hold the powerful to account is vital to our democracy. However, I am also acutely aware from my own personal experience of the need for the press to respect sensitive personal stories. Press freedom comes with a responsibility to ensure it is not abused.
Following the publication of the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, we have seen the formation of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and Impress, which have the power to hold publications to account, including ordering prominent corrections.
Both regulators are independent of Government and enforce Codes of Practice, which include provisions on privacy and intrusion. They both operate low-cost arbitration schemes and free systems to handle complaints.
Around 95% of national newspapers are now overseen by IPSO. Members are required to follow the Editors’ Code, which requires journalists to respect people’s right to privacy, stop approaches when asked to do so and to ensure reports are accurate.
I am assured that in cases relating to privacy, the individuals affected are able to complain to IPSO who will investigate and take action against the publication in question if appropriate.
We need to continue to monitor this very carefully.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.