The eight public members of the PCC – including acting chairman Professor Robert Pinker – have sent their own submission to the select committee to reinforce the commission’s independence.
Their submission, written independently of the PCC’s own 65,000-word report, has been put together partly to “challenge the mistaken view, sometimes deployed by critics, that it is a body dominated by editors” the submission says. “This is incorrect.”
“We value editors’ input and insight into the practicalities of producing a newspaper or magazine. They put their case robustly – and they keep very much in their minds the issues of press freedom and freedom of expression. But their voice is never dominant.”
The essence of the system’s effectiveness is instead a “synthesis” of editors’ views and the lay members’ own majority opinion. Nine seats out of the 16 on the PCC are held by lay members (one is vacant), with Pinker is the longest-serving of these. Their decisions, the submission says, are “robust, common-sense decisions, which place the protection of the individual from media intrusion at their heart, but which also take into account the realities of producing newspapers and magazines day in, day out.”