Following Max Mosley: the PCC's record on privacy
Following the recent Max Mosley case, the PCC has been asked about its role in considering complaints about privacy intrusion.
The PCC remains the forum in which a large number of privacy complaints are ruled upon or resolved every year. In 2007, the PCC concluded nearly 250 privacy cases, which included over 100 settlements. This includes complaints about small local papers and large national titles and magazines - from high profile individuals and ordinary members of the public.
And there are some clear advantages to coming to the PCC to settle privacy complaints: it is free to use; the process is non-confrontational; and, most importantly, a privacy complaint can be considered privately, out of the public glare. A complainant does not have to endure further coverage about their private life when they come to the PCC; the details of a complaint are not re-published across other media. An evident – and unavoidable – irony of a privacy action in the court is that the last thing it offers is any privacy.
Through the PCC, a settlement can be negotiated promptly by a variety of means tailored to the individual complainant, which may include the publication of apologies, the removal of the intrusive material, undertakings about future conduct, ex gratia payments and so on.
The PCC also deals with individuals’ concerns about the physical behaviour of journalists by operating a 24-hour emergency hotline, through which it can prevent persistent harassment and disperse media scrums immediately.