SoE celebrates 20th at House of Commons reception

The Society of Editors was joined on Tuesday evening by representatives from across the media industry to celebrate its 20th year campaigning for freedom of the news media at a reception staged at the House of Commons.

SoE celebrates 20th at House of Commons reception
The event was hosted by John Whittingdale MP (fourth from the right) on behalf of the Society of Editors.

At the reception, the new head of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Lord Faulks, spoke of his commitment to a ‘free, rigorous, courageous yet accountable press’.

He also expressed his excitement to work closely with the Society in the future as it works to promote a free and responsible press in the UK.

“It is something of a cliché to say that we live in a time of fake news, but it is all the more important to get your news from a source which is curated and produced by publishers that are identifiable and accountable.”

He went onto say that “IPSO will remain committed under my leadership, as will the Society to a free, rigorous, courageous and yet, accountable press, and I look forward to working with the Society to promote those aims.”

National, regional and online editors joined the Society, alongside representatives from across Parliament to celebrate the Society’s achievements to date and look to the future.

The event was hosted by the Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP on behalf of the Society of Editors.

Also at the reception were representatives from broadcast, including the BBC and ITN, Index on Censorship, Newsworks and the Journalists’ Charity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon also addressed guests. Lord Ahmad, Minister for the UN, Commonwealth and South Asia at the Foreign Office is a strong advocate for media freedom globally.

His role as the UK Minister for Human Rights means that Lord Ahmad is very aware how vital trusted communication is, outlining how “the strength of our democracy is determined by a free press”.

“Important journalism, whether we are talking about social media, the print media or broadcast media cannot be undervalued in any sense”. He added that “a free media is an essential ingredient of a healthy democracy.”

Lord Ahmad stated how the safety and protection of journalists when reporting in the UK and overseas is paramount to enabling a truthful and trusted media.

Lord Ahmad is also a fundamental player in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Global Campaign on Media Freedom’. He has played a significant role, says the Society, in encouraging countries from around the world to sign the Global Pledge and become a member of the Media Freedom Coalition, of which the UK is a founding member.

The Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, a long-time supporter of the Society, congratulated the organisation on its achievements to date and specifically praised the work the Society has been doing with Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) to help promote, enable and champion quality journalism in the UK courts.

Mr Whittingdale said: “I wish the Society success in the next 20 years because it plays such a fundamental role in a free society and the functioning of democracies”.

Also attending the reception were representatives from the NCTJ and recipients of the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) - a scheme that was launched at the Society of Editors conference 15 years ago.