Aim of PPT - Use the content of this presentation to collect info on:
Which organisation existed prior to the setting up of the PCC?
Insight into the type of criticisms leveled at the British Press prior to the setting up of the PCC
The outcome of the Calcutt Committee report and the warning of government ministers to British newspapers.
The make up of the PCC and how it works?
How the PCC judge complaints and if papers are found to have breeched PCC standards, what type of punishment can it issue?
The PCC’s Accuracy and Privacy code of practices
Discussions pro and critical of voluntary handling of issues of privacy and misrepresentation
Discussions pro and critical of statutory handling of issues of privacy and misrepresentation
The Press, PCC & Voluntary Regulations
A voluntary Press Council existed for some 40 years, which was generally considered a toothless watchdog .
During the 1980s there was mounting concern about press standards, notably as regards the moves downmarket of the 'gutter press', as well as much concern about invasion of privacy, in particular the relentless hounding of the younger members of the Royal Family, as well as various politicians
The Conservative government appointed Sir David Calcutt to run a Departmental Committee of enquiry.
Calcutt Committee reported (1990) that there should be a new, non-statutory Press Complaints Commission. The press were given eighteen months to see if it could work. If it failed, then the Government was urged to introduce legislation. Government warned the press that they were 'drinking at the last chance saloon'.
In the event, the PCC was set up with great speed by the press in order to avoid statutory controls. It is a matter of debate whether the press have improved their standards.
What is The PCC
The British Press Complaints Commission was established in 1991 as a successor to the old Press Council.
The Commission currently consists of sixteen members, the majority of them laymen, working under an independent Chairman. The PCC is a self-regulatory body entirely independent of both the industry and government. It receives and deals with complaints falling within the remit of the industry’s Code of Practice.
As a self-regulatory body , the Commission does not impose fines or require payments of financial compensation.
When a complaint is upheld, the offending newspaper or periodical must and does publish the Commission’s critical adjudication immediately
The Commission also publishes its own adjudication's, both the upheld and rejected complaints and also a note of every complaint received. So far, the newspaper industry has given 100% support to the Commission and its administration of the Code . No newspaper or periodical has refused to publish an adverse adjudication.
The Code Committee
The Code Committee consists of a small group of editors keep the Code under continuous review
Code of Practice consists of 16 clauses setting out the grounds or circumstances under which a member of the public or an organisation may bring a complaint about unethical conduct. See PCC Editor’s Code of Practice
All changes in the Code, are subject to the approval and support of the industry . Their compliance is voluntary, but nonetheless, it is binding. And that, in essence, is the strength of the self-regulatory system.
Secondly, the industry has a manifest interest in making self-regulation work. If it were to fail, they know that the government would intervene and impose a statutory system.
PCC Code of Practice & Accuracy of Reporting
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognized must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.
iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
iv) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is public
PCC Code of Practice & Privacy
i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.
ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant's own public disclosures of information.
iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals in private places without their consent.
Note - Private places are public or private property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Dealing with Irresponsible Reporting and Complaints
PCC service to the public is free, quick and easy.
Aims to deal with most complaints in just 35 working days - and there is absolutely no cost to the people complaining.
The PCC received 4,698 complaints in 2008. Of the complaints that were specified under the terms of the Code of Practice approximately two in three were about accuracy in reporting and approximately one in five related to intrusion into privacy of some sort.
All complaints are investigated under the editors' Code of Practice, which binds all national and regional newspapers and magazines.
Over ninety per cent of all the complaints received are resolved informally to the satisfaction of the parties involved through the intervention and mediation of the Commission’s officers, or are not pursued.
The PCC -Pro Specific Voluntary & Critical of Current or Proposed Statutory Specific Regulations
Most of these complaints are resolved in favour of the complainant.
Only three per cent that go through to adjudication do so either because there are grounds for believing that an informal apology would not be sufficient or because editors concerned are convinced that they have not breached the Code and that a formal adjudication will vindicate them.
The Commission had to adjudicate on only 45 complaints in 2008. That is a sign not of the weakness of self regulation - but its strength. All those which were critical of a newspaper were published in full and with due prominence by the publication concerned.
In 2008 PCC dealt with approximately 10,000 enquiries by telephone, fax and email. This is an encouraging sign of the accessibility of the Commission to members of the public.
The PCC -Pro Specific Voluntary & Critical of Current or Proposed Statutory Specific Regulations
Legal controls would be useless to those members of the public who could not afford legal action - and would mean protracted delays before complainants received redress. PCC system of self regulation, effective redress is free and quick .
nine out of ten complaints are resolved; and it only takes us, on average, just 35 working days to do so.
Over the past three years the number of complaints has risen to around 4,700 each year - the majority of them about inaccuracy a sign not of declining journalistic standards but of public recognition of the work of the PCC .
The PCC - Pro Specific Voluntary & Critical of Current or Proposed Statutory Specific Regulations
“ Statutory controls would undermine the freedom of the press - and would not be so successful in raising standards. A privacy law, too, would be unworkable and an unacceptable infringement on press freedom.
It would be of potential use only to the rich and powerful who would be prepared to use the Courts to enforce their rights - and would be misused by the corrupt to stop newspapers from reporting in the public interest .
Self regulation has none of the problems of the law - yet still provides a system in which editors are committed to the highest possible ethical standards ”.
PCC Failings For Statutory Regulations Like the Tightening of Libel & Intro of A Privacy Law
Make the case that when the code of conduct particularly in regards to respecting ‘everyone entitlement to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence’ complaints are dealt with either unsatisfactorily and/or lightly.
Make the case that the PCC provide inadequate punishment to prevent newspapers from behaving badly especially in terms of The Press must taking care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures.ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognized must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published.
Select a recent news report which calls into question whether British newspapers respect or are willing to comply with the PCC’s own standards of privacy and accurate reporting.
Select a recent privacy or libel related case in which the judge (or the complainant lawyers has expressed outrage about either PCC inability to get newspapers to comply with their own standards and/or the PCC course of redress being inadequate.
Task - Deadline Friday 19th March 2010
Produce a series of slides which outlines cases for and against the Law of Libel or indeed the changes to the Law of Libel. You may work in a pair or a small group no larger than 4.
Level 3/4 Approach
Include in your argument some reference to the nature of how the PCC works, whether it be considered to be successful or not. This could be in terms of how complaints are dealt with, what types of punishment/ actions the PCC can take against newspapers who are found to print inaccuracies.
Showing awareness of any changes or revamping of the code will attract additional marks.
In regards to support or criticisms of The Law of Libel, quoted support or criticisms of the PCC
Quoted references to PCC code of ‘Accuracy’
Relevant and recent case studies used to support argument
Reference to the Calcutt and the idea that the press that they were 'drinking at the last chance saloon'.
Quoted comments from media commentors, theorist or others
Connection made between celebs and the need and/or use of Libel Laws