The Media Standards Trust charity is today calling on the Press Complaints Commission to appoint an independent inquiry to examine the allegations made in The Guardian regarding phone hacking by the News of the World.
The MST said it believes that only an independent inquiry - initiated by the press itself – will have the necessary remit, authority and resources to give the public confidence in the outcome.
The MST believes that the PCC is unable to conduct a comprehensive investigation because:
· It is not constituted to conduct proactive investigative inquiries. Its constitution only establishes it as a complaints resolution body
· It does not have sufficient budget (£1.8m pa) or skills to undertake investigations of this kind
The MST said it believes that if the Press Complaints Commission fails to take sufficient action to restore public confidence, trust in self-regulation will be undermined.
Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust said:“The PCC should set up an independent investigation to examine the claims and to demonstrate that self-regulation can be effective. Self-regulation remains by far the most preferable system for the press. But self-regulation must be seen to work effectively.
“If the public are not reassured that self-regulation is effective then it will weaken the arguments against those who want to use government or the courts to scrutinise the operations of the press more closely. That would be a real threat to press freedom."
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