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More than 7,000 complaints made to press watchdog

The Press Complaints Commission received more than 7,000 written complaints last year according to its annual review published today.

But only a third of the 1,687 cases deemed worthy of further investigation related to regional newspapers.

Today’s figures showed the number of complaints well down on the record figure of 37,000 in 2009 – but 25,000 of those concerned a single article by Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir on the death of former Boyzone singer Stephen Gateley.

The number of investigations however continued to rise, from 1,134 in 2009 and 949 in 2008.

Of the 750 complaints deemed to amount to possible breaches of the editor’s code of practice, 544 were resolved through mediation and a further 188 by remedial action taking by the newspapers.

Formal rebukes to editors were issued in just 18 cases – the same as the previous year.

Baroness Peta Buscombe, chairman of the PCC, said, “We are heartened by regular feedback that shows that the work we do is valuable and valued.

“Amid all the talk of super-injunctions and the peril they pose to freedom of expression, we should remember that…we are more active than judges in defending people’s privacy, and so while balancing the protection of the individual with the right of free speech.”

Of the cases deemed to involve a possible code breach, 87.2pc involved accuracy or right of reply, while 23.7pc involved privacy.

Just over half of the cases investigated involved national newspapers, 33.7pc concerned regional newspapers, 8.7pc Scottish newspapers, 2.1pc Northern Irish newspapers, and 4.9pc magazines.

The full review can be read here