Self Regulation of the Press Industry

Self Regulation

Self regulation means that the regulation of a particular industry is partaken by a body appointed by that industry and not by a government appointed agency.

Press Standards Board of Finance (Peasbof)

The Press Standards Board of Finance is the regulatory body for the entire of the UK written press, funds the Press Complaints Commission and has the following bodies under its regulatory umbrella:

  • Newspaper Publishers Association
  • Newspaper Society
  • Periodical Publishers Association
  • Scottish Newspapers Association
  • Scottish Daily Newspaper Society

Functions

The Press Standards Body of Finance operates a system of self regulation and is charged with the following duties:

  • Raising a levy on the newspaper and periodical industries in order to finance the Press Complaints Commission 
  • Co-ordinate and promote the system of self regulation within the industry
  • Enable the bodies under its system of self regulation to liaise appropriately with the Press Complaints Commission

The Code Committee is part of the Press Standards Body of Finance and is charged with monitoring compliance with and undertaking reviews of the established Code of Practice.

The Press Complaints Commission

There are seventeen member of the Press Complaints Commission in total with a majority of them having no connection with the press thus to ensure that the Press Complaints Commission remains an independent regulatory body.

There are three classes of Members within the Press Complaints Commission which are as follows:

  • The Chairman
  • The Public / Lay Members
  • The Press / Industry Members

The Chairman

The Chairman must be independent from the industry meaning that he or she must not be engaged  or connected with or interested in the publishing of newspapers, magazines or periodicals other than in their capacity as Chairman.

The Public Members

The public members are all appointed by an independent Appointments Commission. They too must be independent from the industry meaning that he or she must not be engaged or connected with or interested in the publishing of newspapers, magazines or periodicals other than in their capacity as a member of the Commission.

The Industry Members

The industry members are also appointed by an independent Appointments Commission. They are the only members of the Commission who are not independent from the industry but they must be a person who is experienced at a senior editorial level in the press.

Functions of the Press Complaints Commission

The Press Complaints Commission deals with complaints regarding the written press by taking the following action:

  • All complaints will be judged against the Code of Practice
  • If the code has not been breached on the face of it then the Commission will take the matter no further
  • The Commission usually only deals with complaints that have been made within one month of the publication
  • If a letter was written to the editor of the publication concerning the matter then the Commission will deal with complaints within one month of the editors reply
  • If there is litigation currently running concerned with the piece or about to commence then the Commission will not get involved. Once the litigation has concluded the Commission may deem it necessary to get involved.

Can I complain directly to the Press Complaints Commission?

The Commission only usually deals with complaints from parties who have directly been affected by the matters about which they are complaining. They will also only hear your complaint once it has been judged against the Code of Practice so strongly recommend that before you submit a complaint you consult the Code of Practice thoroughly.

If you feel that this is the case the following documents will need to be included:

  • A copy of the completed article and publication date
  • Name of the publication concerned
  • Brief summary of the complaint which outlines in what way the Code of Practice has been breached
  • Copies of any relevant documentation. An example of this is where there may have been communication with the editor of the publication concerned.

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For more information on:

  • The Code of Practice
  • What does the Code say? 
  • Accuracy
  • Opportunity to Reply
  • Privacy
  • Harassment
  • Intrusion into Grief or Shock
  • Children
  • Children in Sex Cases
  • Hospitals
  • Reporting of Crime
  • Hidden Devices
  • Victims of Sexual Assault
  • Discrimination
  • Financial Information
  • Confidential Sources
  • Witness Payments in Criminal Trials
  • Criminal Payments
  • The Public Interest Defence