Thursday 19 February 2009

Sir Christopher Meyer blasts back at Media Standards Trust over report slamming PCC

Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer has sent a stinging reply to the Media Standards Trust whose recent review claimed the PCC was "fundamentally flawed" and claimed self regulation was failing the public.
He has accused the Trust of inaccuracies, flawed analysis, making false claims and misinterpreting PCC statistics.
Sir Christopher states in a letter to Anthony Salz at the MST: "Thank you for your letter of 6 February, which enclosed part 1 of your report “A More Accountable Press”. You asked if you, and two of your colleagues, could meet me to discuss part 2 of your review.
"I will certainly consider the possibility of a meeting. But, it is hard to see what this might achieve unless part 2 acknowledges and corrects the innumerable inaccuracies and flawed analysis of part 1."
The letter also says: "I am afraid that we also require some reassurance about the credentials of those carrying out the inquiry. In addition to the inaccuracies – some as basic as the false claim that the ASA was modelled on the PCC – the report does not appear to have been written by anyone with much understanding of self-regulation or the relationship between the PCC and the law.
"More fundamentally, we have to ask reluctantly question whether this whole enterprise is being undertaken in good faith. We were very dismayed that the Trust should be willing to allow publication of a strident shrill report that was, by virtue of your failure to offer us any opportunity to contribute to it, both so unbalanced and misleading."
"Your director has compounded suspicions of bad faith by publicly suggesting that there was consultation with the PCC in the preparation of the report: this is a grave falsehood, for which I understand he has now apologised."
Sir Christopher asks:"In short, your report may be only “diagnostic”. But, if the diagnosis is flawed, how can the prescription be any better? "
He then goes on to list the report's weaknesses, claiming it "fundamentally misinterprets the PCC’s statistics".
Sir Christopher ends: "It strikes me as a terrible shame that you have wasted the opportunity to make a sensible contribution at a time when a free press and democracy itself in Britain are facing unprecedented challenge. I look forward to your comments."

No comments: