Monday 31 January 2011

PCC sets up comittee to review phone hacking

The Press Complaints Commission said today it has "remained concerned" about phone hacking and is establishing a committee to review the issue.

The Phone Hacking Review Committee, with a lay majority, will consider any new information on phone hacking that becomes available, and make recommendations to the Commission, which will be published.

The PCC said: "The purpose of this will be to draw together lessons learned as a result of the outcomes of the relevant police inquiries and ongoing legal actions. It will also consider the outcome of the current internal inquiry of the News of the World. The Committee will review the PCC's own previous actions in regard to this matter."

The Phone Hacking Review Committee will comprise the two most recent lay Commissioners (who joined after December 2009), both of whom are experts in relevant legal fields:

Ian Walden, Professor of Information and Communications Law, Queen Mary University of London, and Julie Spence, former Chief Constable, Cambridgeshire Police
There will be one editorial Commissioner: John McLellan, the editor of the Scotsman.

The PCC added: "It is important to make clear that phone hacking is a criminal offence, and the Commission has been consistent in its condemnation of it. It has also been consistently clear that it is not the role of the PCC (or within its powers) to duplicate the investigations of the police, or to establish criminality. However, its role is to work to raise standards in the industry, and it is committed to take this opportunity (at the conclusion of the relevant processes) to do so in this area."

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