Thursday, 8 March 2012

NUJ leader welcomes closure of 'failed' PCC

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has welcomed the news that the Press Complaints Commission is to close.

She said: “Since Calcutt despaired of his creation in 1993 and called for its replacement with a statutory tribunal, the PCC’s many detractors and critics have consistently pointed to its failings, failings that have allowed the press to reach the point not just of immorality, but of outright criminality.

"Despite many opportunities and sustained lobbying by the NUJ and other groups such as Mediawise and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, the PCC has failed repeatedly to seize the chance to reform. We are pleased that its closure has been announced today."

Stanistreet claimed: “The PCC’s entire history and that of the Press Council before it, indeed all regulation of the press since the Second World War, is a tale of too little too late. It was the very structure of the PCC as an industry-fostered self-regulatory body that has led to its failure.

"Set up merely as a complaints body with no role in protecting the rights and freedoms of the press or public, working to a code drawn up solely by editors and a commission made up, initially at least, almost entirely of editors, it has spent most of its 22 years existence racing furiously to catch up with demands for reform.

She added: “Self-regulation has been given every possible chance to work in many different forms over the past 40 years and has failed the test every time. It is important to remember that whilst press freedom is crucial to the rights of citizens and to a strong democracy, the press has no more right to make money through criminality or unethical behaviour than any other commercial organisation.

"We either reform the press to ensure it is capable of working with a self-regulatory system or we move to a different form of regulation or both. The NUJ does not believe that a rebranding – the PCC Mark 2 that is often referred to – would do anything other than repeat (yet again) all the past mistakes that have been made."

Stanistreet said: “The NUJ will engage in every opportunity available to continue to argue for a new organisation that is fit-for-purpose and improves media accountability.”
  • Pic Jon Slattery

No comments: