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Press watchdog praises UK journalists for ‘saving lives’ during pandemic

Lord FaulksThe press watchdog has praised titles that “saved lives” during the coronavirus crisis after revealing fewer than 10pc of complaints it received over a year related to pandemic coverage.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has published The Covid Report, an analysis of press reporting between March 2020 to April 2021.

IPSO found 3,102 complaints were made about Covid-19 coverage in the titles it regulates over the period, representing 9.7pc of all complaints received.

Of those, 77 investigations were opened, resulting in 47 rulings and 38 corrections being published.

Chairman of IPSO Lord Faulks QC, pictured, said: “I have no doubt that journalism published by IPSO-regulated titles over the last 18 months saved lives, in the UK and around the world.

“I hope that this report will help to inform editorial decision-making over the next period of the pandemic and beyond, as well as highlighting the important role that IPSO regulation plays in ensuring a quality, accountable press.”

IPSO chief executive Charlotte Dewar added: “There is no doubt that Covid will continue to present challenges for press regulation and the newspaper and magazine industries.

“While IPSO identified some cases where individual pieces of journalism had fallen short of the standards set by the Editors’ Code, there is also much to be positive about.

“The pandemic has demonstrated the value of accountable news in an unprecedented way.

“IPSO will continue to do its part to ensure that readers can find accurate information on critical issues like public health.”

The report has been welcomed by Fiona Fox, chief executive of The Science Media Centre.

She said: “Unlike in other countries the UK press has managed to hang onto its science and health specialist journalists, and this was critical to the high standards of reporting we witnessed during the pandemic.

“Research showed that what readers wanted was in-depth reporting that they could trust and the simple explainers that would help them understand all aspects of a complex new virus.

“The scientific community I work with understood and appreciated the value of responsible science journalism more than ever before.

“When the public needed the very best standards of journalism the UK press rose to the challenge.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.