Hello guys! I remember sometimes ago, I wrote about Jan Moir and the PCC’s ruling concerning www.libdemvoice.org. I think you guys should read it and leave a comment for me below. Here’s a taste of it:
“The second one, the PCC is excusing what she wrote because someone else had said it already. On this basis, newspapers can justify any factual inaccuracy as long as someone else said it first. What was Cowley supposed to do, track down the first journalist to wrongly claim Gately died alone and complain about them only?”
The surprising thing is that the press complaints commission once rejected the complaints concerning Jan Moir’s nasty attack on Stephen Gately.
This means that if there’s any good which is to come out of this affair, maybe it’s to reinforce the case for the wholesale reform of the PCC. Below is my reason.
PCC isn’t independent
Although the PCC claims to be independent. But one of the advantages of being self-regulated ought to be the ability to keep the press out of the hands of the political public while still holding newspapers to account.
But the PCC fails on both counts
Baroness Buscombe happens to be the Chair of the 17-member Commission, which is the conservative member of the House of Lords. But her party happens to be irrelevant because a serving politician chairs the PCC.
Right now, the PCC is claiming that its Commission has a majority of non-press members. Though this might be true. But the Chair’s appointment isn’t decided by the newspaper industry alone.
Even at that, the Commission has the final decision on all complaints made to the PCC, and they do this by using the Editors’ Code of Practice.
One of the problems in the Jan Moir case is that the PCC Clause 12 states that, “the press must prevent any prejudicial or pejorative references to any person’s sexual orientation”.
Just like the PCC said in their judgment, “whether the question of Daily Mail’s article was about homophobic or discriminatory to a gay person, in general, did not fall under the remit of the Code.”
So who is the person that decided that this is what the Code should say? Remember that the committee was headed by the Daily Mail editor. So why should there not be any blanket ban on homophobic general articles written into the Code? This is because the newspaper industry said so.
The PCC isn’t transparent
So what do these websites have to say?
You can just check out some adjudicated cases, and you will find no mention of the Jan Moir ruling.
You can also check at monthly summaries, all of these went up to September 2009.
You will notice that the PCC can’t be bothered to keep its record of rulings and statistics updated.
But you can find the Jan Moir case ruling in its press release section. It’s true to the PCC, it was an issue to do with media management, and not one that has to do with any of the 25,000 people who complained ought to have access.