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PCC confirms it is to wind itself up

The Press Complaints Commission has confirmed it is to wind itself up in an apparent bid to pre-empt the findings of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

The Commission, whose members met in full for the last time last week, has agreed to make a fresh start under a new name and is now in what a spokesman called “a period of transition.”

The move, engineered by Commission chairman Lord Hunt, appears designed to put in place a new system of so-called “self regulation” to head off calls for a statutory regulator.

However it is not clear what powers the new body will have, as that is still dependent on the outcome of the inquiry.

A PCC spokesman said:  “The Commission has agreed to move to a new body – including transferring staff, assets and liabilities.”

Lord Hunt paved the way for the announcement in an interview with Sky News last month.

He said on that occasion:  “Last week the Press Complaints Commission met and agreed that we would in principle move now to a new body, for the first time a press regulator with teeth.

“So we’re very much now on the front foot and listening to all sides and determined to bring forward the sort of independent self-regulatory structure that everyone will approve of.”

The demise of the PCC will be seen as a blow by its supporters in the regional press who argued that it did a good job for the industry.

However it was welcomed by the National Union of Journalists whose general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said:  “The PCC has shown itself to be incapable of genuine reform and must be dismantled.”

At present the new transitional body will be run by a three-member panel – Michael McManus, a former Conservative special adviser, who is director of transition, with communications director Jonathan Collett, who has previously acted as press adviser to former Conservative leader Michael Howard, and head of complaints Charlotte Dewar, who had previously worked for the Guardian.

PCC director Steven Abell left at the end of February, to take up a partnership with a PR consultancy.

Niri Shan, partner at international law firm Taylor Wessing, commented:  “‘The decision to close the Press Complaints Commission seems premature given that the Leveson inquiry is ongoing.

“If the PCC do form a new body prior to his recommendations being published, further changes may need to be made which will just result in further upheaval for staff and the industry.”



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  • March 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    They should have two, one for the rabid red tops and another for the more responsible sections of Her Majesty’s Press.

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  • March 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    If I want to complain about an article in a newspaper within the next few weeks or months who do I write to then?

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  • March 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    You may as well write to yourself, because the self-serving PCC doesn’t take any notice of you anyhow

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  • March 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Cherrywonder has a point. As far as the regioal press is concerned the PCC does not appear to have been a failure at the NUJ and others have suggested. . People’s complains are investigated and if the paper has been wrong it has nearly always pubished the reprimanding adjudication. And to my knowledge the PCC code and the casebook website are often consulted when a decision is made whether or not to publish.
    As a whole the PCC has worked reasonably well. The trouble has been that it has not been proactive in natonal newspaper situations and it has not had the power to enforce its code of conduct with the nationals.

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  • March 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    The PCC worked ok for the local press as most titles still have room for integrity and honesty.
    And while I have seen some completely stupid rulings by the PCC over the years and it certainly needed a bit of reform, largely it was fit for purpose for and did alright for us.

    But it was next to useless when it came to the nationals, most of which have been out of control for years. It actually seemed scared of some of them.
    Even the “respected” broadsheets didn’t seem to give a monkeys about PCC rulings and the odd proverbial slap on the wrist meant absolutely nothing to them.

    I hope they don’t try a one-size fits all again.

    I’d like to see proper sanctions for appalling behaviour by the nats.
    And third parties should be able to make complaints too.

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