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February 11, 2009

Self-regulation ‘failing the public’

Category: News

Media Standards Trust calls for urgent reform


A review by The Media Standards Trust (MST) has concluded that the current system of press self-regulation is "incapable of dealing with the serious and growing threats to press standards and press freedom."

The MST report, A More Accountable Press, published this week called for urgent reform and reported that there is evidence to suggest the press’s need to capture public attention and maintain circulation is leading to greater levels of intrusion and invasion of privacy.

The review, written in consultation with an independent review group, reported that the lack of an effective system of self-regulation meant that some people were turning to the courts and that "the development of a legal right to privacy is not a satisfactory substitute for effective regulation."

YouGov research cited in the review, found that 75% of the public believed that "newspapers frequently publish stories they know are inaccurate" and only 7% trusted newspapers to behave responsibly.

Sir David Bell, Chairman of the MST said: "Our research has shown that the current system of press self-regulation is failing the public. It is fundamentally flawed and in urgent need of reform. We believe that the Press Complaints Commission is constitutionally and structurally unable to deal with these threats, particularly in the context of the rapidly changing new media environment."

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