Press Complaints Reform Vital, Demands New UK Regulator

08 May 2003

British self-regulatory body the Press Complaints Commission must reform to restore public faith in newspapers, its new chairman argues.

Sir Christopher Meyer, former ambassador to Washington, took charge of the press watchdog last month. He proposed on Tuesday a series of changes to make the PCC’s processes more transparent and less open to criticism.

One of these is to increase the number of commission members from outside the press to reduce the influence of journalists. Meyer initially wants one extra non-press member, taking the total to ten against seven journalist commissioners.

Another proposal is to introduce an independent PCC ‘charter commissioner’, who will investigate allegations that the watchdog has deviated from correct procedure when handling complaints against the print media.

The new chairman also wants the regulator to advertise all future appointments, rather than the current system of filling positions through a PCC committee.

Meyer hopes such reforms, announced in a speech to the Newspaper Society, will quash criticism that the PCC unduly favours newspaper editors when judging cases.

However, despite the public’s lack of confidence in the press, Meyer remains a staunch defender of self-regulation. “The principle is absolutely fundamental,” he declared last month.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff