There is nothing ‘strange’ about MediaWise (PCC’s accuracy
complaint, Press Gazette, 4 March), a charity set up in 1993 by people
whose lives had been damaged by unfair or inaccurate media coverage,
and run by journalists who believe that press freedom comes with
concomitant responsibilities to the public.
It was the PCC that
refused to collaborate in a piece of legitimate research we
commissioned into satisfaction levels among complainants. Its own
customer surveys concentrate on procedural matters, rather than delve
into more significant qualitative issues – such as whether people
really felt their complaint had been fully understood and resolved to
Meanwhile Sir Christopher Meyer has engaged
in constructive discussion with us about the substantive issues raised
by our report ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed?’ around improving the Code of
Practice and PCC procedures.
However it is strange that the PCC
allowed itself to be regarded as a ‘public authority’ for the purposes
of the Human Rights Act, but has fought shy of the label in terms of
the Freedom of Information Act. What has it got to hide? We shall
continue to challenge unethical journalism, support those who need help
when making complaints, and encourage public debate about the role and
responsibilities of journalists.