Regulatory bodies for the print and broadcast media receive some 10,000 complaints a year. Inaccuracy and unfairness top the list of complaints about journalism.

There is no statutory regulation of the Press. Instead there is an entirely voluntary system which does not have the force of law. The industry has drawn up a Code of Practice and funds the Press Complaints Commission to resolve or adjudicate complaints. Editors agree to publish the PCC’s criticisms, but damages cannot be awarded.

Parliament has empowered Ofcom to regulate broadcasting. They can order broadcasters to publish apologies and corrections, while serious breaches can result in fines or even the loss of a licence to broadcast. The BBC is governed by a Royal Charter and also has its own internal regulatory system.

Pity the Poor Citizen Complainant (2012)
MediaWise submission to the Leveson Inquiry.

Getting It Right For Now (2010)
MediaWise submission to the Press Complaints Commission governance review.

Who Pays the Piper… (2007)
MediaWise submitted this paper in response to the Home Office consultation paper Making Sure That Crime Doesn’t Pay which addressed ‘the government’s view that convicted criminals should not be able to profit from their crimes, whether directly from the proceeds of the crime itself or indirectly through cashing in on the story of their crime’.

MediaWise recommendations on changes to the Editor’s Code of Practice (2006)
Submitted as part of the 2006 consultation.

MediaWise response to PCC Annual Review 2005
Letter published in the Press Gazette, 9 June 2006.

Ofcom’s handling of fairness and privacy complaints (2005)
MediaWise submission to Ofcom’s consultation on its handling of fairness and privacy complaints.

Satisfaction Guaranteed? Press complaints procedures under scrutiny (2004)
Edited by Rich Cookson and Mike Jempson, Satisfaction Guaranteed? is a MediaWise study of complaints procedures in the UK. It proposes an overhaul of the PCC and the Editor’s Code of Practice and supports calls for a fourth Royal Commission on the press. It also looks in detail at the way the PCC handles complaints and reviews of other complaints procedures including the BBC and Ofcom.

MediaWise response to the proposed Ofcom Broadcasting Code (2004)
On 14 July 2004, Ofcom published its proposed Broadcasting Code to ‘set standards for all broadcasters’ that Ofcom regulates. MediaWise submitted the following response as part of a 12 week consultation period held by Ofcom.

MediaWise recommendations on changes to the Editor’s Code of Practice (2004)
Submitted as part of the 2004 consultation. Read our response to the Code changes announced in May 2004 here.

Stop the Rot! (2003)
Submission from MediaWise to the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee Inquiry into Privacy and Media Intrusion, prepared by Mike Jempson.

Press Complaints Commission Procedures (1999)
A commentary derived from the debate in the House of Lords on the Mary Bell Case: Press Complaints on 27 January 1999 (Hansard, Cols 1110-1126)

Press Complaints Commission: History and Procedural Reform (1995; 1999)
Originally prepared as a submission to the Press Complaints Commission in Autumn 1995 following recommendations for reform of its procedures by the Secretary of State for National Heritage, this paper was redrafted in October 1999.

Further resources on the media and regulation are available here.