Complaints commission chief champions conduct code for newspaper websites

THE principle of self-regulation – and the application of the Press Complaints Commission’s Code of Conduct – should apply equally to newspaper websites, and any audio-visual content on them, as it does newspapers, according to the PCC chair.

Speaking at the Scottish Society of Editors’ conference in Glasgow on Friday, Sir Christopher Meyer described the PCC’s decision earlier this year to extend the remit of its conduct code to include audio-visual content as “perhaps the most important decision since the PCC was set up in 1991”.

But both Meyer and Vicki Nash – Scottish head of broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, and also attending the conference – deftly avoided clashing on who ultimately had jurisdiction over website content and whether there was a case for an ‘uber-regulator’, to replace the handful of regulators that currently exist and to recognise growing ‘media convergence’, where editorial can now appear on a variety of media.

The importation of audio-visual content onto newspaper websites posed an “exciting challenge” for the PCC and the industry as a whole, Sir Christopher said.

But whether editorial appeared on newsprint or on a website, the “buck always stops with the editor”, he added.