Thursday, 18 February 2010

Stephen Gately, Jan Moir, the Daily Mail and the Press Complaints Commission [updated]

As expected the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has delivered a whitewash for the Daily Mail after receiving 25,000 complaints against the Jan Moir article on the death of Stephen Gately.

The PCC's adjudication is available here. Interestingly the PCC seems to have ignore the complaints from the public and to have only focused on that by Gately's husband, Andrew Cowles.

The PCC is founded on the principle of self-regulation; this means that the press adjudicates on what the press does. Let me rephrase that: the accused decides if the accused is innocent or not.

More over and despite the claims of unacceptable censorship used to justify yesterday's decision, it seems that the only sanctions that the PCC has power to inflict on a guilty paper is to get it to publish the adjudication. This from the Editors' Code of Practice (pdf file):

Any publication judged to have breached the Code must print the adjudication in full and with due prominence, including headline reference to the PCC.
And having vainly rooted around the PCC's website for a while it seems that this is it. Nothing else and certainly no financial sanctions against which the website actively advocates.

This morning on Today (just before 8am if you want to look for the interview), the chairman of the PCC (Baroness Buscombe), in response to the argument that self-regulation doesn't work, boasted that the PCC does indeed work and that this is because it is independent of the state…. She stated this in total disregard to the fact that the PCC is not adjudicating on the state's actions. So how can this be relevant?

The PCC, whose strapline is "free, fast, fair" (I kid you not), is a toothless irrelevant joke. How can a system where poeple are judge and party (in a commercial environment) be expected to work? How can an organisation whose Chairman of its Editors' Code of Practice Committee is also the editor of the Daily Mail be expected to deliver a "fair" and inpartial ruling against the Daily Mail?

I don't think they can and we got a flagrant proof of this last night.

See The PCC's Jan Moir FAIL on Clapham Omnibus for an analysis of the adjudication itself

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct. I hope the PCC is shortly abolished in favour of a real Press regulatory body.


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