Press complaints body to rule on bugging devices: Quarterly report of Sir Gordon Downey, the Independent Readers' Representative
Monday 07 June 1993
Among the measures to be adopted is a change in the membership of the commission so that a majority of its members should come from outside the industry. Similarly, the membership of the appointments commission (which appoints PCC members) will be increased in number and have a clear majority unconnected with the industry.
My own view is that the PCC has shown no lack of independence in the past and that these changes will have no practical effect on its adjudications. However, they may help to reinforce public confidence in the authority of the body.
Other proposed changes could be more important. The present Code of Practice was framed by editors and the PCC was merely asked to enforce it. In future, it will be asked to ratify the code and take final responsibility for it.
This will give it a clearer focus to propose changes in the light of its own experience. It is important that, in the process, the commitment of editors to the code should not be forfeited. But the commission is clearly aware of this and has agreed to the setting up of a joint review committee to resolve any differences over the contents of the code.
Some specific changes are already in prospect. These include provisions relating to 'bugging' devices and long-range cameras; and a new clause covering 'public interest' is under examination.
The PCC is also proposing to set up a telephone helpline for members of the public who fear the code is about to be breached in respect of their own affairs; and to mount a public awareness campaign for its activities. I believe these changes should be broadly welcomed both by readers and by newspapers.
It has, for a long time, been clear to me that legitimate public concern over press behaviour should be addressed by strengthening the present system of self-regulation and not abandoning it for an untried system of statutory control. If the PCC can make itself more available to the public and can exercise its responsibilities wisely, I believe this will provide a way of avoiding many of the problems which are currently perceived.
Most complaints - even the intractable ones which find their way to the PCC - are resolved without the need for formal adjudication. In its latest report, the PCC gives information about 140 complaints considered in the period April-May. Of these, 89 raised no prima facie breach of the code, and 30 were resolved directly by the newspapers concerned. Adjudications were made on the remaining 21, of which eight were wholly or partially upheld.
The Independent has, to my knowledge, always taken the Code of Practice seriously and tries to deal fairly with readers' complaints. There have been no adverse adjudications by the PCC. All departments are required to keep separate folders of readers' complaints and I review these at intervals. For the most part, they are dealt with well.
There are, of course, occasional lapses and readers are regularly invited to write to me if they are not satisfied with the way in which their complaints have been handled. I am happy to look into these and try to ensure that mistakes do not recur.
In short, I remain encouraged by the responsible way in which complaints are tackled. And I see nothing in the proposed strengthening of the PCC which is inconsistent with our approach.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...