Government Relations and Public Affairs
As a self-regulatory organisation, the PCC operates independently of government. It receives no funding from any government department (or indeed from any other source outside the newspaper and magazine industry), and is not subject to statutory control.
However, the government - and parliament - maintain a strong ongoing interest in the effectiveness of press self-regulation. Over recent years there have been a number of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiries into issues connected to the PCC. A 2007 report into self-regulation of the press concluded that there was no case for a statutory regulator of the press and that a privacy law would be undesirable. The Committee has since undertaken an inquiry into ‘Press standards, privacy and libel', to which the Chairman and Director of the PCC have given oral evidence. You can read the PCC's written evidence to the Committee here. The report was published in February 2010 and the PCC's response can be viewed here.
We are in regular contact with Ministers and officials at various government departments, in particular the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which has direct responsibility for matters relating to press regulation. We have recently liaised with the DCMS, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to explain how the PCC can work to minimise media harassment of those who have been bereaved in various circumstances. Information provided by the PCC has been incorporated into the Government's guidance on Humanitarian Assistance in Emergencies, which can be read online here.
All-Party Groups (which operate on a much more informal basis to Select Committees) are also important, as some of these cover subjects that are relevant to particular aspects of the Code. We have attended meetings of the All-Party Group Suicide Prevention Group, for example, and have sought to explain the importance of the introduction of part ii of Clause 5 of the Code (Intrusion into grief or shock) as a way of minimising the risk of copycat suicides. We monitor the work of these Groups on an ongoing basis, and are always pleased to respond to enquiries or requests for more information from their members.
Some MPs act on behalf of constituents who have raised concerns about the press to them directly. We are very happy to liaise with MPs in this way.
Private briefings at Westminster (and elsewhere) can be arranged on request. Please contact email@example.com for more information.