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PCC to hold first 'independent review'

PCC to hold first 'independent review'

Categories: Latest News

Thursday August 06 2009

The Press Complaints Commission’s new Chair, Baroness Peta Buscombe (pictured), has announced plans to hold an independent review into its workings, and how they might be improved, for the first time since the self-regulatory body was formed 18 years ago.

The Conservative peer, who took over as chair of the PCC in April, will invite submissions from interested parties, like the Media Standards Trust, who published a report critical of the body earlier this year, calling it ‘insufficiently effective, largely unaccountable, opaque, and failing to reflect the radically changed media environment.’

The independent review will examine ‘the operation of the PCC board, sub-committees and secretariat; how transparency in the system can be enhanced; whether the independent systems of accountability – the Charter Commissioner and Charter Compliance Panel – can be improved; and the PCC’s Articles of Association.

The MST report called for ‘urgent reform’, of the PCC without which ‘self-regulation of the press will become increasingly ineffective at protecting the public or promoting good journalism’.

Professor Roy Greenslade commenting on the review’s announcement writes in The Guardian, ‘I would hope that people who have complained to the commission in the past, whether satisfied or unsatisfied, will also come forward to offer their views.’

The Director of MediaWise, Mike Jephson, whose organisation has similarly produced reports critical of the PCC’s weak regulation, asks if the review is now being called on account of ‘the burgeoning scandals of press malpractice in recent years?

‘Is it because the press fear a backlash from politicians whose own unethical antics have so recently been exposed to public scrutiny? Or is it perhaps because year on year the number of complaints the PCC is struggling to deal with is increasing in inverse proportion to falling newspaper revenues?’

The review will only be as good as the critical views offered it. We would encourage everyone who has had cause to complain to the PCC, or is interested in the body’s oversight of good journalism practices, to contribute to the independent review by making a submission offering their thoughts on the PCC’s purpose, process and outcomes.

We will keep readers informed of the PCC’s opening date for submissions.

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