Statistics 2010

Complaints without merit

On 937 occasions the Commission ruled that there had not been a breach of the Editor's Code. Most of these rulings were straightforward and did not reveal any new or important principle; as a result they were not published but were, of course, communicated in full to the parties involved in the complaint (and are recorded briefly on the PCC's website, along with every concluded complaint - see more here). In 19 key cases, the Commission made rulings public in formal adjudications, which can be seen here.

In eight cases no finding was possible because of irreconcilable conflicts of evidence.

Overall, the Press Complaints Commission received written complaints from well over 7,000 people last year, most of them by email - some of those were multiple complaints about the same issue and some were not concluded by the end of the year.

Additionally, a lot of these contacts related to matters that fell outside the Commission's remit (TV programmes and adverts for example) or were not followed up when we requested additional information which was necessary for a proper assessment. It was not possible to take these complaints further, although it is important to be clear that every person who writes to us receives a full, tailored response.

In total, 2,774 complaints were not pursued after initially being submitted. A further 899 fell outside the PCC's jurisdiction or related to matters of taste and decency not covered by the Code.

We also received a considerable number of complaints from people who were not directly connected to the matters under complaint. We now deal with a great many cases about general matters of fact from anyone who wishes to express a concern. And, while it remains our firm policy that we should not examine a complaint from a third party where there is an obvious first party who could complain (it would be highly inappropriate, for instance, to examine and perhaps rule on a complaint about alleged invasion of privacy unless the person who experienced the apparent intrusion gave their consent), we regularly work proactively to make such individuals aware of our services so they can decide to complain if they so wish.

If we believe that a complainant is not a genuine first party we will explain why their concern may be one with which the PCC cannot deal. However, everyone has the chance to argue their case and, if they choose to do so, the Commission will consider whether there are exceptional reasons to take the complaint forward.

In 2010, the Commission ruled on 102 occasions that it could not consider a complaint without contact or consent from the person directly affected by the article in question.

Not pursued
Matters of taste & offensiveness
Ruled out by the PCC as being from 3rd Parties
Outside the PCC's remit
Disallowed on grounds of delay
No finding possible