MoS editor Peter Wright: Scoops do not push up sales

Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright today revealed that the Press Complaints Commission is exploring setting up a new standards and compliance arm.

Wright, who sits on the PCC, was giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry when he revealed that he also sits on the PCC’s ‘reform committee”.

He said that the new body should have powers to call editors to give evidence ‘and if necessary impose sanctions if editors refuse to cooperate or give false evidence’and to also impose sanctions where publications break the rules.

Wright also said that there are proposals to make membership of the PCC ‘contractual’and he revealed that there are ‘strong inklings that all the major publishers will sign up to a reformed PCC”. He added, however, that he did not know how “maverick” titles such as Private Eye could be compelled to sign up to a system of self-regulation.

Leveson challenged Wright about why the PCC refused to deal with complaints from people who were also suing newspapers. Wright was unable to explain why journalism should be different from other areas such as the law or medicine in this regard.

Asked about whether there was pressure to publish exclusive stories in order raise sales, Wright revealed that over the last year only three front page stories had a major impact on sales.

‘One was the Royal Wedding, one was the Japanese Tsunami and one was a particularly tragic crash on the M5 motorway.”

He said that exclusive stories are ‘part of the mix of things which readers would buy the paper for but wouldn’t move individual sales for us”.

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