PCC chairman wanted: must be 'exceptional public performer' with no links to press

The Press Complaints Commission has advertised for a new chairman – insisting that the candidate must have ‘no current or recent links with the newspaper or magazine publishing business”.

Last month Baroness Buscombe announced she would be stand down when her three-year term comes to an end in January.

Today’s advertisement said the new chairman will be expected to ‘lead a period of regeneration and renewal for the commission”, though the future of the regulator remains uncertain after Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament last month that ‘the way the press is regulated today is not working”, and announced a public inquiry to examine the future of press regulation.

The job is described as a ‘high-profile role at a time of great scrutiny for the commission, for the operation of the code of practice and for self regulation”.

The candidate will have an ability to ‘think strategically about how the commission should develop to take account of public, Parliamentary and judicial concern about the efficacy of self-regulation, and to carry the industry with him or her during a period of change”.

They must also be ‘committed to the principles of press freedom and to self regulation’and an ‘exceptionally effective public performer, able to speak on behalf of the commission across the media and to command attention on a wide stage”.

During her time at the helm Buscombe was repeatedly criticised over the PCC’s handling of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

In November 2009 the PCC was sued over comments made by Buscombe at a Society of Editors Conference and to the Media Guardian, relating to comments made by lawyer Mark Lewis to a select committee in which he claimed there were around 6,000 victims of phone-hacking. Buscombe insisted at the time that there were only a handful of victims.

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