Online publications and blogs would be regulated under radical proposals by the new chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, according to the Exaro website
Lord Hunt, PCC chairman since October, told Exaro in an interview with David Hencke: “At the moment, it is like the Wild West out there. We need to appoint a sheriff.”
His initial plan for online media is to invite bloggers who write on current affairs to volunteer to be regulated by the replacement body for the PCC.
They would be able to carry a ‘Kitemark’, showing that they abide by the new body’s code of practice. They would lose the ‘Kitemark’ if complaints against them were repeatedly upheld. But this regulatory oversight would mean bloggers having to pay a fee to the new body, which would be funded by the publications that it regulates.
Hunt said: “I want accuracy to be the new gold standard for blogs. Once they have agreed to be accurate, everything would follow from that. I would like to see a ‘Kitemark’ on the best blogs so the public can trust what they read in them.”
The PCC chairman spoke to Exaro ahead of a meeting today (Thursday) of editors of national and regional newspapers – at the London head office of the Telegraph titles – to outline his proposals.
Hunt believes that the new Press regulator must remain independent of government.
Hunt is still fleshing out his plans, but expects to propose a two-tier complaints system with a much more rigorous approach to inaccurate and intrusive stories.
In the first tier, every newspaper and magazine regulated by the PCC would have an agreed procedure under which a complainant can seek redress from the publication. The publisher’s chief executive would have to take responsibility for its complaints system.
Each title would have an independent person to decide on complaints and what it should do to redress the issue. Hunt said that this would be a more independent figure than the ‘readers’ editor’ that some newspapers already have.
For those who remain unsatisfied after going through the first tier of the complaints system, they can take the matter to the new regulator.
Newspapers and magazines would have to produce an annual report of their standards of journalism under plans for a new regulatory body.
- Lord Hunt told Newsnight last night that the PCC had never had the powers of a regulator.