The chairman of the Press Complaints Commission has said press standards are not declining, and many of the publications springing up online would “fall by the wayside” as people come to trust established brands that adhere to the PCC code.
Last year’s record number of complaints to the PCC was not an indication that standards are declining in newspaper journalism, Sir Christopher Meyer told the Yorkshire Post.
He said: “I don’t think standards have declined. The rise in the number of complaints has a lot to do with the PCC being much more visible, and emails and the internet making it very much easier to contact us. I would expect the number of complaints to us to continue to climb.”
Sir Christopher said complaints about “citizen paparazzi” pictures is a growth area for the PCC, and reminded editors that responsibility for the use pictures submitted to newspapers by members of the public ultimately rests with editors.
The PCC chairman also said he belives readers will come to trust those online publications with established brands that adhere to the PCC Code. Sir Christopher told the Post:
“There are publications which fall under our responsibility, and there is some wild and woolly stuff on the internet that does not. As far as blogs are concerned, I believe there will be a process of natural selection. Readers will soon sort out what they can rely on and what they can’t. As time goes by, a lot of these bloggers will fall by the wayside.
“If you have a well-known and respected brand, that is very important. The integrity of the brand becomes very important, and if you can see information in that publication or on the website that tells you that you can go to the PCC if you wish to raise a grievance, then it becomes a reinforcement of that brand’s integrity. You’re not going to get that on a blog.”
Sir Christopher is in Leeds today on the latest in a series of public meetings to raise the newspaper watchdog’s profile.