Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Toothless

Posted on This is My Truth on 24 February


In an masterfully understated sentence the Commons Culture Select Committee today concluded that the Press Complaints Commission "is widely viewed as lacking credibility and authority".

Its unanimous report on press standards accuses Rupert Murdoch's senior executives of concealing the truth about the extent of illegal phone hacking by journalists on the News of the World. The cross-party committee of MPs found that "a culture undoubtedly did exist in the newsroom of News of the World and other newspapers at the time which at best turned a blind eye to illegal activities such as phone-hacking and blagging and at worst actively condoned it".

But the Press Complaints Commission had already looked into the same allegations that the committee examined and cleared the tabloid.

The PCC had rushed out a report purporting to exonerate the News of the World that took the paper's claims of innocence at face value. "We find the conclusions in the PCC's November report simplistic and surprising. It has certainly not fully, or forensically, considered all the evidence" the MPs concluded.

It goes on to describe the PCC as 'toothless', but fails to recommend much to really sharpen its teeth.

There are many villains in this tale. The need for change seems irrefutable. There's lots of political noise and indignation, but no will to take on the press.

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