Online and privacy complaints to PCC on the rise

Online publications now the source of majority of complaints to watchdog

The Press Complaints Commission has released its Annual Report for 2007, revealing that it received a record number of complaints about invasion of privacy and that, for the first time, the majority of complaints concerned material published on the internet as opposed to traditional media.

Chairman Sir Christopher Meyer said that the rise in privacy complaints was most likely due not to falling standards but to other factors, including an increased awareness of the PCC’s functions. Significant privacy adjudications issued by the body in 2007 included upholding Charlotte Church’s complaint about The Sun‘s reporting her pregnancy and its rejection of a complaint by Tommy Sheridan’s wife Gail over the publication of a photograph of her.

The increase in the proportion of complaints concerning online material can be attributed not only to the increasing number of articles being published online, but also the extension in early 2007 of the watchdog’s remit to deal with complaints about audio-visual material published online.