The Press Complaints Commission announced Feb. 9 that its director, Stig Abell, “will be leaving the PCC at the end of February.”
According to the PCC’s press release on the issue, Abell resigned from the PCC, where he has worked for “more than a decade,” for another job. The PCC quoted its new chairman, Lord David Hunt, as suggesting that Abell has planned to leave for several months and noting that the two “agreed that we would work together until we were in a position to propose a new structure for self-regulation of the press.” The PCC’s communications director Jonathan Collett confirmed that Abell has planned to leave.
The PCC named a “Director of Transition” to “continue the work on ongoing proposals for reformed, independent self-regulation of the press.” The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade noted that “it appears that Abell’s PCC job, as it is currently constituted, may not be filled.” However, the PCC’s Collett told iMediaEthics by e-mail that “it is the commission’s intention that he will be replaced.”
We wrote in July 2011 when Baroness Peta Buscombe resigned as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. In October, the PCC announced her replacement, Lord David Hunt. During the Jan. 31 Leveson Inquiry, Hunt proposed a “totally new” regulation system to replace the PCC, as we wrote.
We asked the PCC’s Jonathan Collett was the proposed timeline or actions are for those reforms to occur. He wrote via e-mail:
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“Following a prompt from Lord Justice Leveson during his evidence to the Inquiry, Lord Hunt has indicated that he hopes to deliver detail to his proposals as soon as possible. He has pledged to keep Lord Justice Leveson informed on developments. The PCC continues to serve the public and handle complaints and to give pre-publication advice.”
UK fact checking group Full Fact wrote “in praise of” Abell and the PCC’s former head of complaints Scott Langham, “who left at the end of last year.” The PCC’s Collett told iMediaEthics that Langham “left to take a new position.”
Full Fact wrote: “The weaknesses of the PCC are structural. They are no reflection on the hard work and professionalism that the PCC team have delivered whenever we have dealt with them.”