The acting chairman of the Press Complaints Commission has called for more support from all sections of the press in the way they report its activities.
Professor Robert Pinker, standing in for Lord Wakeham, said: "We don’t sing our praises – it’s not our job to. But it would help us a great deal to correct misunderstandings if more newspapers could give a wider reportage on some of our adjudication cases that have involved so called ordinary people, rather than so-called celebrities."
Recent criticisms of the PCC have tended to focus on high-profile privacy cases involving national newspapers and high-profile names including Prince Harry, Euan Blair and Sara Cox.
But in May the PCC will publish figures showing that last year the magazine industry had more privacy complaints upheld against it than against newspapers.
That’s the first time this has happened. There were also twice as many privacy complaints against regional papers – many of which involved non-celebrities – than there were against the nationals, "a fact that people always neglect", Pinker said.
In 2001, the figures will show, a record 3,050 complaints were dealt with by the PCC, 520 relating to privacy. This compares with 2000’s total of 2,225. The difference, Pinker said, is largely due to an increase in complaints about religious and racial discrimination.
Full Pinker interview next week
By Ian Reeves