UK Press Complaints Commission to 'Pre-determine' Where Corrections are Placed

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The UK Press Complaints Commission has updated its editors code regarding placement of corrections. (Credit: PCC)

Effective Jan. 1, UK newspapers must pre-determine with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) “the prominence of corrections stemming from a complaint,” the Press Gazette reported

The PCC is an independent organization that holds British newspapers and magazines accountable.  It mediates complaints from the public and can censure publications.

The new requirement comes as a result of the PCC’s editors code committee updating part of its accuracy code. Clause 1ii now reads:

“A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.

“In cases involving the commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.”

Ian Beales, Code Committee secretary, is quoted as explaining that the change hopefully will “help kill the myth” that corrections are buried. Beales asserted that the PCC researched corrections that it organized and found that corrections aren’t ordinarily hidden deep in newspapers and magazines. Beales is quoted as saying:

“Research conducted by the PCC has shown this to be untrue – nearly 85 per cent of PCC-negotiated corrections and apologies appear no further back than the original transgression, or in a designated corrections column.

“It is also the case that most editors already consult with the PCC informally on the position of corrections.

“This change formalises that position in the hope that it will remove one, at least, of the misconceptions about the PCC and the self-regulatory system.” noted that Daily Mail’s editor, Paul Dacre, chairs the committee that works on the code. StinkyJournalism wrote yesterday that the PCC received more than 500 complaints over a column run in the Daily Mail.

According to the PCC, the code both sets guidelines for journalists and helps the PCC deal with complaints in “a clear and consistent framework.”

See here the Dec. 2 press release from the Press Complaints Commission about the change.  See the editors’ code of practice here.

iMediaEthics is writing to the PCC and will update with any response.

Hat Tip: Meeja Law

UPDATE: 1/4/2011 10:22 AM EST: Jonathan Collett of the Press Complaints Commission responded to iMediaEthics’ e-mail inquiry.  Collett wrote:

“The PCC would not comment on the code changes because we enforce the Code rather than draft it.  The relevant body — the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee — press release is here.”

“The code if updated annually following public consultation by the Editors’ Code Committee.”

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UK Press Complaints Commission to Approve Where Corrections are Placed

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