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Press complaints time limit is extended

The Press Complaints Commission has extended the time limit in which it will accept complaints from one to two months.

The press watchdog announced the change following the first report of the Charter Compliance Panel, which audits the PCC’s standards of customer service, and will now accept complaints made within two months of publication.

The change is the first to be implemented since the panel began its work in January, after it suggested that a two month limit would be a more reasonable and appropriate length of time.

In addition to the the new two month rule, if complainants immediately take up the matter direct with the editor the PCC will continue to deal with complaints received up to one month after the end of correspondence with him or her, providing the correspondence has been continuous since publication of the article.

The moves have been welcomed by media ethics charity MediaWise which recently conducted research finding that 64 per cent of complainants it questioned said they were unhappy with the PCC, in contrast to the Commission’s survey that showed 62 per cent were satisfied.

The survey report Satisfaction Guaranteed? Press complaints systems under scrutiny, which was published in June, concluded that PCC procedures – and the newspaper industry’s Code of Practice – were in need of a thorough overhaul.

The PCC has agreed to meet with MediaWise in the autumn to discuss the report findings.

  • The Charter Compliance Panel has the power to review any aspect of the Commission’s handling of complaints and make recommendations for improvements in a published report to the Commission.

    Its members are chairman Sir Brian Cubbon, former permanent secretary of the Home Office and former member of the PCC, Dame Ruth Runciman, former chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission and former member of the Commission, and Charles Wilson, former editor of The Times.

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