Memorandum submitted by the Pow Trust
From our experiences with the press, totally fabricated and false information is published and the Press Complaints Commission fails to use its powers to protect the general public.;
I raise the below issues;
1. The Press Complaints Commission is totally unaccountable.
2. The chairman/chief executive of the Press Complaints Commission is a political appointee whose only interest appears to be personal to generate a nice annual earner on a part time basis without any obvious interest for the general public seeking redress from the press.
3. The Press Complaints Commission is wrongly financed by the press. The press clearly has influence over the Press Complaints Commission operations. From our experience one strong letter from a national editor and the Press Complaints Commission caves in.
4. It appears the Press Complaints Commission investigating staff have previous connections with the press, as is human nature, will lean to the press in their decision making.
5. Again from our experience, a wholly false story published in a national newspaper, a Government agency was able to influence the Press Complaints Commission by secretive communications with the investigating officer. The complainant was unaware of this influence until after the decision of the Press Complaints Commission who refused to uphold the complaint.
6. The chances of a member of the public without money and influence to secure a success with the Press Complaints Commission must be minimal.
7. The only chance of succeeding it would appear if one has a bundle of money and secures justice in the High Court. I note the press are very careful not to write negatively about Elton John and George Michael after their successes in the High Court not available to a normal member of the general public who are not be protected by the Press Complaints Commission.
8. We have great concern that Government agencies are able to influence the public, such as the police, passing information to the press which can have devastating results as what happened in the Stagg case. Also attempts are made by 'spin doctors'/media giants to influence the courts for their clients not available to the general public. This in unfair because the 'spin doctors'/media giants do succeed. Would the Press Complaints Commission investigate such abuses, not a chance.
9. There can be no doubt the failure of the Press Complaints Commission to protect members of the general public leads to an abuse under the Human Rights Act.