'PCC Should Have the Power to Fine Papers'
Burrell, Ian, The Independent (London, England)
NEWSPAPERS HAVE been threatened with being fined and suspended from publishing in recommendations designed to give greater powers to the Press Complaints Commission.
The Culture, Media and Sport committee argued that the press industry watchdog should be able to impose a "financial penalty" on publications that were found to be in serious breach of the PCC's code. "The PCC as it currently operates is widely viewed as lacking credibility and authority," the committee chairman John Whittingdale said. "To counter this, we believe ... that it should have the power to impose financial penalties on newspapers which breach the PCC code."
Industry sources said the measures would be unlike any existing at similar bodies elsewhere in the world and were unlikely to be introduced.
But the committee argued that the PCC needed more muscle and recommended that its name be changed to the Press Complaints and Standards Commission "reflecting its role as a regulator, not just a complaints handling service". The report follows the most wide- ranging and complex inquiry in the history of the committee and follows a succession of controversies around press standards, including the reporting of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the News of the World's intrusion into the privacy of Formula 1 chief Max Mosley by revealing his involvement in a sado-masochistic sex orgy, and the hacking of mobile phones by the same newspaper. …