Monday, 27 July 2009

Trivial Aside on the PCC

Anton Vowl's got a very good post on the PCC. There's been a fair bit on the ol' blogosphere recently about the PCC, as a whole new generation has discovered how bloody useless it is.

I just thought it was worth noting that Anton's suspicions that

You have to wonder, if someone makes the same kind of mistake again and again, whether it's down to sheer incompetence or not giving a flying one about the consequences. Consequences which in the case of the Pathetically Craven Commission mean a very nasty finger-wagging if you do something like ruining someone's life or completely misrepresenting them; or even a much sterner tut-tutting if you drive someone to suicide or destroy a dead person's memory.

are more than justified. The organisation is, as you would suspect from a body whose members are senior figures in the very industry they are supposed to be regulating, designed to be as ineffective an instrument of restraint as possible.

As any regular readers may know, my current quotable text of choice is the 1997 blockbuster Power Without Responsibility: The Press and Broadcasting in Britain*, and having ploughed through nearly all of it now, I thought I would once again share Seaton and Curran's words of wisdom with you.

[The PCC was] established in 1989. It was investigated four years later and found wanting by Sir David Calcutt who concluded:

The Press Complaints Commission is not, in my view, an effective regulator of the press. It has not been set up in a way, and is not operating a code of conduct, which enables it to command not only press but also public confidence ... It is not the truly independent body that it should be.

Following this report, the [PCC] duly appointed a new chairman and promised significant improvements. Once again, the cycle of public scrutiny and condemnation, followed by contrition and the promise of reform, was resumed. However, nothing much changed.
So, this was a problem known about over 15 years ago, long before Anton rightly fingered it as a 'cargo cult construction.'**

It's enough to make you tut really, isn't it?

*'A riproaring, adrenaline fuelled ride' - Maxim
'A comedy of errors as sublime as it is fuelled with white-knuckle suspense and ultra violence' - Christian Science Monitor
'I loved the bit where they discussed the abolition on taxes on the press, before his mother turned out to be one of the aliens.' - Chris Moyles
'Quite long.' - Christie Malry

**A case of Paul Dacre, he come, if you will. You won't? Please yourself then.

No comments: