Press Complaints Commission
spacer spacer
SEARCH FOR     Or try the cases search  
About the PCC banner
Making a complaint
Code of Practice Information
Code Advice
did you know?

The PCC can stop media harassment in its tracks.

If you are involved in a news story you may be approached by a journalist for a comment. If you don't wish to speak, you don't have to, and journalists should not continue to pursue you once you've made this clear. If you're experiencing problems with media harassment, click here to find out how we can offer practical and immediate help.

The PCC has the least industry-oriented board of any Press Council or PCC in Europe.

The PCC is sometimes criticised for being on the side of the press because some of the Commission members are editors. They're actually in a minority (as explained here), and compared to similar bodies in Europe, the makeup of the UK PCC board is actually very strongly slanted in favour of public members. For more information about the European regulatory situation, click here.

PCC adjudications, apologies and corrections are getting more prominent.

Contrary to received wisdom, the PCC's record on prominence is impressive. Working towards ensuring that corrective action is published with due prominence is a key aim for the PCC and is something we have monitored since 2005. In that year, 59% of corrections negotiated by the Commission were published on the same page or further forward than the material under complaint. In 2013, the figure was 60%, with 13% being published on a designated corrections page.

Most people who use the PCC 's services are very pleased with the service they receive.

We survey everyone (on an anonymous basis) whose complaint falls under the Editors' Code of Practice in order to assess the service we are providing to complainants. In 2013:

  • 82% of those respondents who gave an opinion said that PCC staff were either very helpful, helpful or satisfactory;
  • 71% of those who provided an opinion thought that there complaint had been handled, in terms of thoroughness, either very well, well or satisfactorily;
  • 66% of people thought that time taken by the PCC to deal with their complaint was about right;
  • 73% of people who express an opinion said that, in terms of thoroughness, their complaint had been dealt with satisfactorily, well or very well.
Why not take a look at some of the positive feedback we have received from people who have used our services?

We update this website on a daily basis.

If you like what you're reading on this visit, why not consider signing up to our mailing list? That way you can stay up to date with information about PCC cases as soon as it's released, and receive prior notification about events we are running.

Every year, we give talks to hundreds of people about the PCC 's work.

It's not all about dealing with complaints. We try to make sure that people likely to need our services know where to turn if a problem arises. We are in ongoing contact with groups like the police, Coroners, community groups and many others to explain what we can do to help. The External Relations section of the site gives more details on this important and growing area of work.

You don't need to make a formal complaint to benefit from our advice.

If you're not sure whether or not you want to complain, have a general question about how the press is regulated, or just need a second opinion, you can contact us on the telephone for free, confidential advice. We can advise you on what might be the best way to frame a complaint, and what an appropriate resolution might be.

We can help with concerns even before something makes it into print.

You don't have to wait for something to make it into black and white before contacting us. If you're concerned about how a story is going to be presented by a particular publication, we can help reassure you that your position has been taken into account by passing on information on your behalf. Click here to find out more.

We're resolving more complaints to the satisfaction of complainants than ever before.

People sometimes say we don't adjudicate enough. But actually, research shows that what people actually want is a quick resolution to their complaint, and a line drawn under the matter. We resolved 461 complaints to the satisfaction of complainants in 2013. Click here to see examples of some of the complaints we have recently resolved.

Editors regularly use the PCC as an advisory service before publishing a story.

Increasingly, editors are coming to the PCC in advance of publication in order to check out how something might best be handled under the Code of Practice. This will affect the way the story is handled and has in some cases meant that the story is not published at all. This is a really clear example of editors taking a responsible view, and limits the likelihood of a formal complaint being made later.

We can formally consider complaints about most commercially available UK newspapers and magazines

We can formally consider complaints about most commercially available UK newspapers and magazines provided that they subscribe to our funding body, Pressbof. For more information, please click here.

We've published a free resource for anyone interested in the PCC .

Although originally designed for Media Studies teachers, the pack has had such good feedback we think it's worth sharing. As well as a summary of background information about how we work, there are a series of case studies you can work through to see whether you agree or not with the Commission's decision. Click here to download it.

We have a range of guidance available on specific areas of the Code.

Although the Editors' Code of Practice is fairly short and very straightforward to read, we know that sometimes people need extra help on what some of the Clauses mean. We have put together a series of advice guides to help, covering areas such as coping with media attention after a death; dealing with media harassment; and the principles that apply behind court and inquest reporting.

You don't always need an injunction to stop a story being published.

Although the PCC has no powers of prior restraint, if someone contacts us with legitimate concerns, we can work quickly with both parties to try to sort out the issue. These discussions will affect the way the publication handles the story and in some cases may lead to it not appearing at all.

People in the public eye are increasingly coming to the PCC rather than going to law.

It used to be said that ‘celebrities' would tend to use lawyers rather than coming to the PCC in privacy cases. Not any more. The PCC - with its free, non-confrontational services - is increasingly being seen as a quicker and more attractive option for famous people as well as ordinary members of the public.

We now publish a summary of all complaints received by the PCC, not just those that are resolved or adjudicated.

From August 2009, we have started to publish a more comprehensive list of our complaints. This helps us to explain the many different complaints we receive every month, and to make a distinction between those that fall under the Code, and those that do not.

The PCC's remit covers online-only publications.

You can find out more about this development here.

The PCC's remit covers the whole of the UK and it operates local rate helplines for those based in Scotland and Wales.

To access these helpline numbers please click here.

81% of the general public are aware of the PCC

Roughly a quarter of the population know a fair amount about the PCC whilst 58% have heard of the PCC or know a little. Source: Toluna (2010)

Three quarters of the population (77%) would prefer a quick public apology to a lengthy legal process and fine if a newspaper or magazine had broken the rules in an article mentioning them. Source: Toluna (2010)

The PCC aims to deal with complaints in an average of 35 working days. In 2012 it dealt with substantive complaints in an average of 37.2 working days. Complaints which warranted an investigation took longer in general to deal with but we still reached our target average.

Almost 9 out of 10 people believe the PCC system should be funded by the newspaper and magazine industry, rather than taxpayer or complainants themselves.

This shows support for the system as it is set up, in which the industry funds the PCC at arms-length. Source: Toluna (2010)

58% of the public think it would be improper for the PCC to publicise their views on a case before consent or solicitation.

Only 25% thought it would be proper. This suggests that the suggestion we should take all third party complaints, or issue public warnings of our own volition, does not have public support. Source: Toluna (2010)

51% of the public think that the Commission should be a mixture of public and senior journalists (significantly outscoring all other options by four times).

This supports the current set-up of the PCC Board, which comprises editors and members of the public (who are in the majority). Source: Toluna (2010)