PCC claims to resolve record number of complaints

Annual report asserts effectiveness on privacy

The PCC annual report, published today, claims that a record number of complaints have been resolved, despite a slight fall in the number made.  Chairman Sir Christopher Meyer further claims that the organisation is the preferred route to resolve privacy complaints.

The Commission received 3,618 complaints last year (down slightly from 3,649), and managed to negotiate a successful resolution in 98% of cases where a possible breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice was involved.

Just under half of all complaints related to regional, Scottish or Northern Irish publications, and 44% related to national publications. 92.2% of complaints were from members of the general public, 5.5% from organisations and public bodies, and 2.3% from those in the public eye.

The Commission received 218 complaints related to privacy, of which 127 involved possible breaches of the Code of Practice. Settlements were reached in all but 2 of these. “The key lesson from this report is that there has been no rush to the courts on privacy cases,” said Sir Christopher. “Despite the wider prophecies of some commentators, there has still been no rush to the courts to test the extending law of confidence and the application of the Human Rights Act.”

The report reveals that complaints were most commonly made about the accuracy of reports, with 713 complaints made on that basis. 98% of those possibly involving a breach of the Code of Practice were resolved.  Sir Christopher Meyer commented that this demonstrated that there was “simply no need” for a statutory right of reply.