QueerAF just became the first LGBTQIA+ publisher in the UK to be independently regulated. We're working with the Independent Press Regulator IMPRESS.
Journalism plays a crucial role in society.
Every day, journalists report significant events, policies and controversies, expose wrongdoing, challenge unfairness and satirise, amuse and entertain.
Such power comes with responsibility.
It's why we have signed up to be regulated by IMPRESS, the independent press regulator.
It means, that even though we're still pretty brand new, we're held to a higher standard of regulation than the Daily Mail.
Press regulation in the UK is not mandated by law, it's entirely voluntary - even after the Hacking Inquiry.
Trust in journalism matters.
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Why we're regulated by IMPRESS
We're the first UK LGBTQIA+ publication to open themselves up to regulation by IMPRESS, or anyone.
There are a lot of arguments about why the press shouldn't be regulated: 'Doing so can put the press under state control,' 'it prevents journalism', 'regulation could be abused by bad actors.' It sounds scary when you put it like this.
But that’s why we have chosen to be members of IMPRESS – the only media regulator with constitutional protections against state control.
Not only do we now benefit from these free speech protections, it means we're held to the IMPRESS Standards Code.
These standards don't get in the way of journalism. They make it better.
The code we follow sets out everything you'd expect from a journalist and news publisher - reporting fairly, ethically and morally. Everything we expect of ourselves.
Analysis: How many national newspaper complaints have been upheld?
Hacked Off's Nathan Sparkes looks at IPSO, the regulator most of the national press is part of (that was set up by them.)
IPSO was set up by the national press after the Leveson Inquiry (Hacking Inquiry).
The standards code used by IPSO and the national press does next to nothing to protect the interests and rights of LGBTQIA+ communities.
In over 7 years of IPSO regulation, guess how many discrimination complaints have been upheld against the press by IPSO?
Not 2000, or 200 - just 2. And neither of those was regarding sexuality.
IPSO's code is full of loopholes, which don’t allow a complaint to be brought where a group is discriminated against collectively.
In comparison IMPRESS’ is robust. If an IMPRESS member directs hatred against a group of people on the basis of their gender, race, sexuality or transgender background, then unlike IPSO, IMPRESS can and will hold the press to account.
Explained: IMPRESS protection from state control
Any government could enforce controls on the media.
But the barriers to changing the IMPRESS system of regulation are huge.
It would require a massive majority (2/3rd) in the House of Commons. Then a vote in the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament, and a unanimous vote from the independent Press Recognition Panel.
By contrast, most of the national press is in IPSO – a complaints-handler without the same level of protection.
IPSO, the self-regulator (set up and run by the press) has existed for 7 years now. Already a politician has taken control and runs it; the former Conservative peer Lord Faulks.
Our contract with you
This is our contract with our readers: we will always do our best to uphold the highest standards, and where we get things wrong, we will make them right.
We don’t fear accountability, because we have confidence in what we publish.
The IMPRESS standards code protects the public, from the worst instincts of the media.
- Given how torrid the environment is, with rising transphobia led by some of the press?
- Having an independent body to uphold complaints and keep publishers in check?
- To prevent the press from publishing content that is harmful and unlawful?
It's a no brainer.
As we set out to model the change, we believe this standards code will help create a safer environment for LGBTQIA+ stories in the press. We hope to see more publishers follow suit.
Our audience is our most valuable editor, and giving them ways to have their say is crucial. That's why we've made this move to be regulated by IMPRESS.
I started QueerAF after an editor told me to 'stop pitching gay stories.'
For too long, the media has been driven by short term, revenue-led incentives. The beautiful spectrum of the queer community has been sidelined in the pursuit of clicks.
The diversity of those who write our stories has barely changed.
And now these advertising-based media models are struggling. It's seeing journalists chase divisive content options to deliver for adverts. It's making the situation worse.
QueerAF is going to revolutionise the way in which LGBTQIA+ voices are heard and flourish. Our community-led platform's editorial decisions are in the hands of readers, not advertisers.
Why? Because together, we can build a more considered approach to our media that values the full spectrum of our community.
QueerAF is a platform where creators, journalists and producers can get paid and commissioned directly by the QueerAF community. This, while we mentor them to build a career, work in the industry - and then, change it.
We believe there’s a better way to be seen, heard and celebrated. Join us to change the media for good.
Right now our Early Adopters membership (40% discount) is the perfect way to support us (from as little as £4.20 a month).
You'll get early access, and a greater say on what we publish next. You can even keep this discount forever. But there is only a limited number left.
Help us make content that counts - for the community, not clicks.