Archive for the ‘Annual Report’ tag

The PCC doth protest too much

without comments

I can’t help but get the impression that the Press Complaints Commission is feeling a little under pressure. Its 2006 annual report, released this week, is a weighty 28 pages, 50% bigger than last years. The PCC uses the extra girth to defend its actions to protect people’s privacy, to make newspapers give prominence to corrections, to influence the behaviour of the press in Suffolk (behind the scenes), to clear up the aftermath of the Clive Goodman phone tapping affair, and to prevent media scrums and harassment.
An aggrieved tone saturates the report. Phrases like ‘something that is often overlooked’, ‘leads some people erroneously to think’, and ‘some people suggest that…’ suggest the body is determined to dispell the idea it is ineffective.
There are, however, a few things the report does not mention:
- That less than 1% of cases are adjudicated (*stats based on year Oct ’05 – Oct ’06 because, bizarrely, full stats for ’06 not included in report)
- That 84.3% of complaints are thrown out before they even reach the resolution or adjudication stage

- That the PCC has taken no action about the 305 journalists found by the Information Commissioner to be repeatedly breaking clause 10 of the Editorial Code, nor about the systematic collection of personal information by major news organisations (its ‘investigation’ into phone tapping would be better described as a ‘polite enquiry’, see Roy Greenslade’s blog)
- That the PCC has not, following the Clive Goodman case, interviewed Goodman’s editor, but chose instead to interview his successor who – coming from America – had no knowledge either of Goodman’s actions nor how widespread Goodman’s behaviour was within News of the World.
This is not to mention the way the press acted when the sailors returned from Iran, or towards Kate Middleton, or towards the family of Sally Clark (saved for 2007 report?).
At least the PCC recognises it has alot of defending to do – and it has been making noises that it is intending to become more proactive. But let’s hope it realises it still has a long way to go before it is seen to be an effective self-regulatory body.

Written by Martin Moore

April 27th, 2007 at 11:45 am

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