AddThis SmartLayers

Regional press accounts for 29pc of PCC cases

Complaints about regional press stories accounted for nearly 29pc of cases investigated by the Press Complaints Commission last year, its latest statistics have revealed.

The PCC has published figures for 2013 which show that of the cases it investigated, 28.9pc related to regional newspapers, while 53.8pc were for national newspapers, 10.1pc for Scottish newspapers and 2.5pc for Irish newspapers.

The organisation, which is set to be replaced with a new regulatory system in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, also had an overall satisfaction rating of 71pc from complainants who said their case had been handled satisfactorily, well or very well.

During the year, the PCC issued upheld adjudications in 15 cases and seven of these involved regional newspapers, while six involved national newspapers and two related to magazines. 

The seven local newspapers were the Wee County News, Kent and Sussex Courier, South Wales Argus, News Shopper (Bexley and North Kent), Herald and Post (Luton), Croydon Advertiser and the Midhurst and Petworth Observer.

In these 15 upheld adjudications, the Commission issued a critical public ruling against titles that had breached the Code and had either failed to remedy it or breached it in such a serious manner it could not be remedied.

The PCC’s report also said the biggest cause for complaint was about accuracy and opportunity to reply, which was raised in 89.9pc of complaints, while privacy issues were raised in 43.5pc of cases.

During 2013, the Commission received more than 12,000 complaints but a large number of these were outside its remit or not pursued further by the complainant.

Of the complaints it received, the PCC issued rulings or brokered agreed resolutions for 2,050 cases, including the 15 upheld adjudications.

In 103 cases the PCC ruled that the Editors’ Code of Practice had been breached and that the publication had offered sufficient action to remedy the breach, even through an agreement settlement between the complainant and title could not be reached.

The PCC’s report said 461 cases had been successfully resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction, while in 1455 cases it ruled there had not been a breach of the Code and in a further 16, it made rulings public about there being no breach after a formal adjudication.

Around 450 people whose complaints were investigated completed surveys about the PCC’s service and 71pc were happy with how it had been handled overall.

Where corrections and apologies were issued by newspapers, 94pc of those negotiated by the PCC in 2013 were published no further than five pages further back from the story complained about or in a dedicated corrections column.

The survey also found that 66pc of people said the time taken to deal with their complaint was “about right” and 82pc said that PCC staff had been helpful or very helpful.

The PCC is set to be replaced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which will be launched following the Leveson Inquiry which looked into press standards.