Some responses to the report

without comments

I’ll detail elsewhere some of the things that have happened in the past week, but for now I thought it might be worth linking to some of the coverage (not a comprehensive list):


You can hear a panel discussion on the issue of press self-regulation on this week’s Media Guardian podcast with Matt Wells. In it Maggie Brown says that ‘This report is only really Part 1 because this is the analysis of all of the failings’ and that it will not be until Part 2 when ‘we’ll really see some fur fly’.

Roy Greenslade’s blog said that the report ‘raises several questions we should not ignore’. The four Greenslade suggests are most important are: (1) ‘that the tight remit of the PCC means that there are times when the press gets away with gross misbehaviour (the treatment of the McCanns and Robert Murat, for example, or the topic of asylum seekers)’ (2) ‘the PCC’s remit also prevents it from defending press freedom and there is no alternative body that can act as an effective, united voice to do so. Therefore, laws have been enacted which could restrict journalists trying to reveal matters of public interest’ (3) ‘the growing use of the European Convention on Human Rights to pursue privacy actions places serious journalism at risk’ and (4) ‘the PCC’s total lack of independence from the industry it regulates’.

The BBC and the FT published news stories about the report (‘Economy ‘threatens’ news accuracy‘, ‘Study: respect for papers falls with standards‘, and ‘PCC rejects media watchdog criticism‘), along with others on the Independent and Guardian websites.

Online, Peter Bale of MSN UK, wrote a feature on ‘News: who can you trust‘. Judith Townend started a debate about some of the questions raised at journalism.co.uk. Obsolete asked ‘Why does lack of trust not equal lack of sales?’. Martin Belam commented on his own attempts to complain to the Press Complaints Commission. Matthew Cain  blogged about ‘reforming the PCC’. EUReferendum said this was ‘a debate which needs to happen and needs to be resolved’. Baroness Scott, the Liberal Democrat President, called on the government to stop waiting ‘for the next passing Tsar – just get on with the job of pushing these press barons into the 21st Century’Other blogs referencing the report included; Peter BurdenEtan Smallman, mediabeak, and Charlie BeckettThe NUJ found in the report ‘Strong support for the NUJ’s concerns at the effect of industry cutbacks on standards of journalism’.

Wales Online and Press Gazette published more critical news reports, leading on Sir Christopher Meyer’s comment that the publication was ‘careless and shoddy’ (‘Press Complaints Commission rejects Media Standards Trust report‘ and ‘PCC criticises ‘careless and shoddy’ report on trust‘). The Society of Editors said that the ‘MST report could breach code‘ with regards accuracy.

Stephen Glover, the Independent’s media commentator, asked whether the Media Standards Trust might find virtue in Robert Mugabe’s regime (an offshoot of Godwin’s Law perhaps?). Following up on his article last week, ‘Let’s be proud of our press – it’s probably the best in the world‘.

In the same newspaper Matthew Norman wrote that ‘Press watchdog bites back at toothless claim’ and suggested that the organisation had never been wholly independent. In the Guardian Siobhain Butterworth challenged the connection between people’s distrust of the media and success or failure of self-regulation.

Emily Bell commented that ‘Fighting talk is not the best way to start a debate on press freedom‘ but that this ‘should be an important debate for the press’.

Hopefully the debate will continue.

Written by Martin Moore

February 16th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

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