PCC: Press complaints reach all time high

A McCann related piece that critical of the Portuguese and a tasteless sticker in Heat magazine drove complaints about the press to record levels in 2007. Figures released by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC)this week reveal a 31% increase in complaints over 2006 to 4340 for 2007. As the two biggest offenders, Heat's tasteless sticker accounted for 143 complaints while Tony Parson's critique of Portuguese - specifically their police - in the Mirror attracted 485 complaints.

As in previous years, the increase can in part be attributed to a more visible, accessible and efficient process for making complaints. Mediabeak would also suggest that it points towards the increasing trend of interactivity between the public and its press. Technology has given the public the tools to be more engaged, interact with and report on the reporters of news. How news comes to air or appears online has been demystified and to the extent there are more news outlets and opportunities for the public to peruse, they have become more critical as consumers.

Another factor that needs to be taken into account with these figures is the fact that the PCC's remit has also been extended to cover the online environment. What would have been useful is a breakdown of how many of the complaints related to online stories as opposed to print ones. Year on year it could turn out that one is not comparing like with like.

Mediabeak has raised this with the PCC and hopes for a response ahead of waiting for the full annual report being provided.

PCC Chairman Sir Christopher Meyer commented:
“These figures reflect three things: the PCC’s greater visibility from a permanent campaign to publicise its services throughout the UK; the extension of the Commission’s remit to cover more information than ever before, including video material on the websites of newspapers and magazines; and growing confidence among the public in what the Commission has to offer. This now ranges from confidential settlements, through published c or rections and apologies, to formal rulings against newspapers and magazines, many of which took forward our case law on the vexed question of where to set the boundary between private life and information that is legitimately in the public interest.

Beyond this, we placed an increased emphasis in 2007 on sorting out problems before publication, which could otherwise have led to a formal complaint. This included in particular deploying our anti-harassment service and dispersing media scrums.”

No comments: