PCC to close


By Rob Bailey - Posted on 08 March 2012

In case any of you have missed it, the Press Complaints Commission met on Wednesday to confirm that it will fast-track its closure to provide a "clean break" for the industry. There are a some striking similarities to the FA's decision to axe Fabio Capello: it comes at a crucial time, there will be a long debate over the qualities a successor requires, and there is no hope of a quick permanent solution. A temporary body will continue to enforce the existing Society of Editor's code for the time being, while the nature, powers and structure of a new permanent body will not be decided until after the completion of the Leveson Inquiry.

From the point of view of working journalists nothing has changed; the perfectly adequate code of conduct is still there as our reference point and moral compass. We must keep our eyes on the horizon to see what shape a new permanent regulator will take. But what affect will the disbanding of the PCC after 21 years have on our readers? A rolling ticker of resolved complaints on its website suggests it has still been busy representing people against alleged injustices in print despite all the criticism it has faced over phone hacking. Undoubtedly its brand has been tarnished, but it is still a name that people recognise and can easily turn to if they feel they have been wronged. Will people embrace a new - as yet unnamed - temporary body in the same way? 

In football, they say stand-in football managers, parachuted in after a sudden sacking, suffer a lack of credibility. That's certainly one explanation for Les Reed's six-week stewardship of Charlton in 2006, which lasted seven games (after five losses, the media branded him "Santa Clueless"). Let's hope that both Stuart Pearce and the PCC's nameless replacement fare better.