Tag Archives: regulation

A new blog for the MST’s independent press review group

In May, Matthew Cain launched a new site, the Press Review Blog, as part of the second stage of the independent press review group’s work on behalf of the Media Standards Trust (MST). He is supporting the press review group in its examination of the effectiveness of press self-regulation, although the blog will not be part of the final review.

The first stage was the report on the current press self-regulatory system, strongly disputed by the PCC. The second stage will make recommendations for UK regulation.

The blog will track the proceedings of the current House of Commons Select Committee (latest update here) into press standards, media law and privacy.

“I’ve started the press review blog in light of the considerable focus on media and regulatory issues, for example Baby P, Alfie Patten, MPs expenses,” Cain told Journalism.co.uk.

“The MST wanted to capture some of those issues and think through what we can learn from debates about reforms to self-regulation in other areas, such as Parliament and the lobbying industry; the debates resulting from the select committee inquiry; and continuing concerns about the impact of libel and privacy cases on the freedom of the press.

“The review group has been following the select committee hearings closely but because the committee’s inquiry is so extensive and might not publish until the autumn, we wanted to ensure that there we still had a public presence to participate in relevant debates.

“The blog isn’t intended to be a formal contribution to the review but a space to log issues, develop our thinking and ensure that our work is as transparent and open as possible.”

Matthew Cain can be contacted via matthew DOT cain AT mediastandardstrust.org or by calling 020 7608 8112.

BeatBlogging.Org: ‘UK news regulation stands in the way of newsroom convergence’

I’ve provided a guest post for BeatBlogging.org, the US-based site that looks at how to use social networks and other web tools to improve beat reporting. Using examples from various Journalism.co.uk pieces, I argue that it is very difficult to look towards coverged newsroom, under the hybrid regulatory systems with which we operate as UK-based publishers. Thoughts welcomed.

Read it in full over at the site. Here’s an extract:

We talk about converging newsrooms of the future that transcend boundaries between online, print and broadcast, but at a very fundamental level that process is impossible in the United Kingdom.

Martin Belam, information architect for the Guardian, recently emphasized that point in an interview with Journalism.co.uk:

“In a converged media landscape, it seems odd that [BBC’s] Robert Peston’s blog is regulated by the BBC Trust, [Channel 4’s] Jon Snow’s blog is regulated by Ofcom, and [the Guardian’s] Roy Greenslade’s blog is regulated by the PCC.”

Now, Martin was actually wrong on the Jon Snow point: Ofcom does not regulate any television Web sites at all. That is to say, the brands which must adhere to a strict code for television content are completely unregulated online. Ofcom advises consumers to make complaints about online content to their Internet service provider.

The BBC Trust regulates the BBC online; the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) regulates newspapers, magazines and their online content.

And Stephen Fry, who – at the time of writing — is nearing half a million followers on Twitter? Or Guido Fawkes (aka Paul Staines) who has a loyal readership to rival most newspaper commentators? Well, they govern themselves – unless the law gets involved.

When the traditional media sectors go online, they’re regulated by their various bodies, and the ‘online-onlys’ only have the courts to worry about. Press publications have a less strict code than broadcasters, but online, broadcasters have more freedom than the press – though they don’t seem to be exercising it.

In a nutshell, a financial commentator from a newspaper has greater freedom than a financial commentator from a broadcaster, and an independent online-only financial commentator has the greatest freedom of all.

What happens when a bank crashes? Channel 4 and ITV can theoretically report how they like – online. The BBC must always answer to the BBC Trust. The newspapers must comply with the PCC code. Martin Lewis, of the MoneySaving Expert can, if he so chooses, be a law unto himself.

Same news and it’s all online but in very different guises. We might think people know the difference, but do they?

Full post at this link…

Comment Is Free: Meyer wrong to ‘pour scorn’ on Mosley, says lawyer

Dominic Crossley, whose firm represented Max Mosley in his case against News of the World, has responded to comments made by Sir Christopher Meyer, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), to a select committee for culture, media and sport last week.

Meyer chose to ‘pour scorn’ on Mosley and not the News of the World, despite the fact that Mosley won his case and a breach of privacy was found in his favour, writes Crossley.

“[I]nstead of criticising the News of the World or even warning those involved as to their future conduct (both the editor and journalist concerned remain in their roles), the chairman of the PCC reserves his scorn for Mosley. Meyer’s approach does nothing to relieve the perception that anyone seeking redress from a national newspaper is wasting his or her time by going to the PCC,” he says.

Full story at this link…

Baroness Ros Scott: Should the PCC be abolished?

Baron Ros Scott, member of the House of Lords Select Committee’s review of media ownership and the news last year, questions the existence of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

“Its entire existence is based on a narrow remit of dealing with complaints from individuals who have the patience (and resources) to go through their procedures. They do not attempt to deal with standards more generally, and given the enormous competitive pressure on newspapers, standards of accuracy and the need for more sensationalist stories are resulting in a dramatic decline in general standards,” she writes

Full post at this link…