By now most of you will have given up trying to understand the machinations of press regulation.

I can’t, in all honesty, blame you.

Even those of us near the centre of the debate find it confusing at times.

Last night’s announcement that the industry is going ahead with its own regulatory body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), will have probably baffled many.

Didn’t the press have their own plans to create its own watchdog - as opposed to the one agreed by politicians - rejected last week? Isn’t the Queen expected to sign a Royal Charter later this month enshrining the government’s watchdog into some sort of law?

Well yes – and no.

Although the press industry’s own proposals for a Royal Charter were rejected by the Privy Council – politicians from the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition who advise Her Majesty on such matters – that doesn’t mean newspapers cannot create their own press regulatory body.

Whether the Queen now signs the Charter being put forward by the government in the knowledge it isn’t wanted nor supported by the press – and after a plea this week by foreign media concerned that the move destroys Britain’s role as a beacon of free speech – remains to be seen.

News yesterday that the industry has launched a judicial review of its own Charter proposal’s rejection may be enough for the Privy Council to at least put the matter on ice, or into deep freeze.

What is clear now is that the majority, if not almost all, of the nation’s press has signed up to the new IPSO regulatory body and will agree – by legal contract – to abide by its rules.

Those rules adhere to the existing Code of Practice from the soon to be defunct Press Complaints Commitssion, a code that Lord Justice Leveson found no fault with. Now, however, that code has teeth.

The new IPSO will be able to investigate and not only force editors to run apologies and corrections prominently, but fine papers up to a million pounds. This is no toothless paper tiger.

As for ‘editors marking their homework,’ a phrase some politicians have used as a nice soundbite, the complaints body under IPSO will include no serving editors and non-industry representatives will outnumber those who have experience in the media.

None of this will create the kind of buzz that we can expect from those celebrities who have seen this as an opportunity to take revenge for what they see are unjust column inches highlighting their alleged failings.

Politicians, often shamelessly, using the victims of undoubted press intrusions – and worse – as photo opportunities, will also hog the cameras. Whether my profession will get a fair hearing in the debate remains to be seen. I will not hold my breath, but I am aware that we deserve neither sympathy nor special treatment having too often failed to give others a reasonable shout.

The proof will be, of course, in the way the IPSO system is administered and in turn polices the press in the years to come.

If the investigations prove weak, the press obstructive, the apologies hidden and the fines paltry, then the public will turn away and the politicians will be emboldened to move once more towards statutory legislation – laws – to contain the media. It is then, not in our interest having come this far to throw it all away and let the politicians back in.

I believe that IPSO will work. The new body will win the confidence of the majority of the public through its deeds.

I am hopeful the politicians, who talk often of wishing to avoid legislation to stifle a free press in this country, will see their job as done.

The true test will come when some in the press do break the rules and the clamour goes up for tighter regulation to prevent even the thought of such actions.

That will be a test not for the press alone, nor IPSO, nor even the politicians, but of our society as a whole to decide whether it truly values freedom of speech and the role of the press in a free society.

A free press is a jewel in the nation’s crown. It may be a diamond in the rough that when polished will still contain visible flaws, but it remains too precious to throw away.