Friday 30 July 2010

Dacre: Many UK papers in 'near terminal' condition

Associated Newspapers editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, in the Editors' Code of Practice Committee Chairman's Annual Report , has today hit back at critics of the Press Complaints Commission and warned that many UK newspapers are in "near-terminal" economic decline.
He writes: "Many of the submissions to the Code Review, to the PCC Governance Panel or indeed, some parts of the Select Committee's Report sadly perpetuate opinions founded more in prejudice and preconception than fact.
"The sadness is that much of this criticism simply misses the point, for it is an ineluctable truth that many provincial newspapers and some nationals are now in a near-terminal economic condition.
"If our critics spent as much zeal trying to help reverse this tragic situation and work out how good journalism - which is, by its nature, expensive - is going to survive financially in an internet age, then democracy and the public's right to know would be much better served."
Dacre adds: "Certainly, the critics of self-regulation are entitled to expect more of us and we must continue to develop the Code and explain better how it works. But, by the same test, we are also entitled to expect more of many of our detractors in Parliament and in these self-appointed media accountability groups.
"They will probably never concede the truth, which is that the PCC has over the years been a great success story. Britain's newspapers are infinitely better behaved than they were two decades ago. Yes, the industry can do more to improve standards. We will rise to our challenge. If our critics will rise to theirs, today's often-corrosive debate could become instead tomorrow's constructive way forward."

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