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PCC chairman hits out at "shoddy" report

Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer has labelled as “shoddy” a new report condemning current press self-regulation as “failing the public”.

The Media Standards trust today published a report saying the PCC was “constitutionally and structurally unable to deal with” the threat to press standards and freedoms.

But Sir Christopher, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, said it was a careless and shoddy report full of assertions which were unsupported.

He added that the PCC was scrutinised by an independent commissioner and panel and the way the body organised itself was absolutely transparent.

The Media Standards Trust is an independent charity chaired by Sir David Bell, chair of the Financial Times.

This report is the first part of an independent review of self-regulation of the press in Britain but does not present any recommendations. These will be included in the second stage of the review.

The report quotes research by YouGov claiming “startling” levels of public cynicism about standards in the press with 75pc of those surveyed saying newspapers frequently publish stories they know are inaccurate.

Only 7pc of respondents said they trusted national newspapers, the report says.

Sir David Bell said: “Our research has shown that the current system of press self-regulation is failing the public. It is fundamentally flawed and in urgent need of reform.

“We believe that the Press Complaints Commission is constitutionally and structurally unable to deal with these threats, particularly in the context of the rapidly changing new media environment.

“While almost all other regulators have been reformed to better protect the public interest in recent years, press self-regulation has remained virtually unchanged.

“The system needs to be brought into the 21st century or it runs the risk of greater government intervention and a further accumulation of legal privacy protection.”


robert ridley (10/02/2009 12:28:35)
The media are great at shooting ourselves in the foot. Here we have the Media Standards Trust (whatever that is) chaired by the chair of the Financial Times, running down the PCC – just what the government wants to hear, giving it the excuse to bring in some monstrous legislation to chain up the Press. As a founder member of the PCC (I served 18 months), I think it has gone from strength to strength. Newspapers now go out of their way to resolve any wrongs without the PCC having to go to adjudication, and react much more quickly to any complaints. The PCC has come down hard on Editors who have flouted the code. Maybe it’s more a case of the public not appreciating or understanding the work of the PCC that is the problem.