Newspaper and magazine industry groups have pledged to support the Press Complaints Commission, following the announcement that Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell, publisher of Express newspapers and OK! magazine is no longer subject to self-regulation after refusing to help fund the Commission.
Clive Milner, chairman of the Newspaper Publishers Association, representing national newspapers, said: “The PCC exists to ensure national newspapers conform to clear editorial standards which are independently regulated. All NPA members are committed to upholding this system of press self-regulation which protects and serves members of the public so effectively and maintains a free, responsible press.”
Georgina Harvey, president of the Newspaper Society, said for regional newspapers it was "business as usual". She said: “Over 1000 regional and local newspaper titles subscribe to the self-regulatory process and agree to be bound by PCC decisions for the benefit of the public. For the regional and local media sector it is business as usual – independent and responsible journalism subject to adjudication by the PCC.”
Michael Johnston, president of the Scottish Newspaper Society, added: “The raison d’être of the PCC is a deep-seated belief in the importance of freedom of the press and thus in self-regulation. It is illogical for any publisher to withdraw from the system and thereby deny readers of his publications the right to an independent means of resolving complaints.”
Barry McIlheney, ceo of the Periodical Publishers Association, representing magazines, said: “The magazine industry totally supports the PCC and the UK’s self-regulatory system. It provides a unique service to readers and ensures we meet the highest possible standards.”
Martin Moore, the director of the Media Standards Trust, said today: “The withdrawal of Northern & Shell raises fundamental questions about the sustainability of the current system of self-regulation. The PCC and PressBof need to reassure the public that they will continue to have adequate avenues of complaint. Northern & Shell needs to be clear as to how it will, in future, fulfil its obligations to its readers and to the broader public.
“The Press Complaints Commission argues consistently that it exists as a better alternative - and deterrent to - statutory regulation. It now needs to explain what impact Northern & Shell’s withdrawal will have on the general public, and what it plans to do to ensure the comprehensiveness and sustainability of press self-regulation.”