18 November 2008

Press standards to be investigated by parliamentary select committee

by Mark Sweeney

A parliamentary committee is to investigate issues of privacy, libel and standards in the press, in part prompted by a string of successful court cases relating to coverage of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee will look at issues including whether the UK press's self-regulation regime needs toughening up, with the role of Press Complaints Commissions certain to face scrutiny.

The inquiry will consider a wide range of issues, including whether successful libel actions against Express Newspapers' titles and a number of other national papers over the McCann case "indicates a serious weakness with the self-regulatory regime" and whether self-regulation needs to be "toughened to make it more attractive to those seeking redress".

Other questions the culture select committee will ask witnesses from the newspaper industry include why the PCC did not launch its own inquiry into the McCann case coverage; and what changes news organisations have made after a string of libel settlements that has seen the industry pay out more than £1m in damages this year over its reporting of Madeleine's disappearance.

The committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, will seek views on issues including the "interaction between the operation and effect of UK libel laws and press reporting", as well as the impact of "conditional fee agreements on press freedom".

Other areas to be examined include contempt of court laws relating to reporting on investigations and trials - particularly in light of the rise of online publishing - and whether, following recent court rulings, "the balance between press freedom and personal privacy is the right one".

The committee will taking written submissions on the issues to be covered in the inquiry until January 14.


Source: Guardian

1 comment:

  1. Would these measures be taken if only the McCann gang benefitted from successful libel actions or is it because Murat has been successful too. Murat is likely to be the only one who really deserved compensation.

    ReplyDelete