As I’ve commented on before (such as here), there has often been a problem with the Press Complaints Commission upholding a complaint about a story but the news outlet’s website not being fully updated to reflect this. For example, the complained about story might continue to appear on a newspaper website without any indication in the story that it was subsequently the cause of a ruling against the newspaper.
Now however the Press Complaints Commission has issued new rules:
When a complaint is upheld by the PCC, the editor is obliged to publish it with “due prominence”. Here is some guidance about online publication:
- As with corrections and apologies, consideration must be given to the adjudication appearing in the relevant section of the website. This can be discussed in advance with the PCC.
- If an article has been found to be in breach of the Code by the PCC, it should either be removed from the archive and replaced by the adjudication, or a link to the upheld adjudication should be prominently displayed on the article itself. This can be discussed in advance with the PCC.
- The adjudication, when published, should be tagged to ensure that it is searchable.
As with other recent tweaks to the rules the PCC implements and the way it goes about its work (such as here and here) this is a good small step forward, even if collectively they fall short of the sort of more radical reforms to press regulation that many have called for in the past. It also leaves in place a big gap between the rights that members of the public have when it comes to newspapers compared to how Baroness Buscombe, the Press Complaints Commission’s chair, was able to express her views in the party’s newspaper when she took objection to statements made in a motion for party conference. So good news, but this should not be the end of the story.
Note: I’ve updated the story to make the reference to Baroness Buscombe and Liberal Democrat News clearer.