I won't befriend editors, new PCC chief pledges

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The Independent Online

The new director of the Press Complaints Commission has promised to avoid making friends with newspaper editors in an attempt to end claims that the watchdog is too close to the industry.

The new director of the Press Complaints Commission has promised to avoid making friends with newspaper editors in an attempt to end claims that the watchdog is too close to the industry.

Tim Toulmin said long-standing criticisms of the PCC for being " too close to editors" had been "fair enough". The comments are a reference to the personal friendship between Mr Toulmin's predecessor, Guy Black, now press secretary to the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, and Rebekah Wade, editor of The Sun and formerly of the News of the World. Mr Black was criticised after a holiday with Ms Wade and her husband, the actor Ross Kemp.

In his first interview as director, Mr Toulmin told The Independent: "One of the questions asked at my interview - and one can imagine why - was, 'How do you envisage your relationships with editors?' There has been criticism about the PCC being too close to editors, which may have been fair enough."

He said he and the chairman of the PCC, Sir Christopher Meyer, were determined to put a stop to such accusations. Mr Toulmin, 29, said he was obliged to meet editors at industry-related events but his relationship with them would be strictly a professional one. He has appointed two PCC staffers, Stephen Abell and William Gore, as assistant directors.

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