Stonewall chief criticises PCC

 

Stonewall’s chief executive Ben Summerskill has criticised the Press Complaints Commission in the wake of its decision not uphold a compliant by Andrew Cowles, the Civil Partner of the late Stephen Gately, about the Jan Moir article published in The Daily Mail.

 

 

 

Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of gay rights group Stonewall, has criticised the Press Complaints Commission. His criticism comes following the PCC’s decision not to uphold the complaint by Andrew Cowles, the Civil Partner of the late Stephen Gately, regarding Jan Moir’s article published in The Daily Mail. Moir’s article was published the day before the funeral of Stephen Gately and caused outrage for its perceived homophobia. A record 25,000 people complained to the PCC and Cowles later complained himself regarding the article.

 

It was announced yesterday that the PCC had decided not to uphold the complaint stating that while it understood the outrage and hurt the article by Moir had caused freedom of speech allowed such things to be published. In the wake of that decision Ben Summerskill, a former journalist with the Observer newspaper, has criticised the PCC saying it was now “very difficult to recommend” anyone from a minority community to complain to the PCC.

 

“The difficulty people have with the PCC is it says that it regulates decency and of course it’s self-regulating. We wouldn’t allow investment banks to say, ‘don’t worry about auditors, we’ll self-regulate’, or mining companies to say, ‘don’t worry about health and safety, we’ll look after ourselves’. And I think we have got to a position where it’s very difficult to recommend that anyone from a minority community makes a complaint to the PCC.” – Ben Summerskill on The Today Programme

 

While Summerskill’s criticism of the PCC will find a lot of support among some the chairman of the PCC, Peta Buscombe, defended the regulator and admitted although the Moir column had just “failed to cross the line” in terms of breaching the PCC code it had come down on newspaper editors “like a ton of bricks” on other cases of discrimination. The PCC has long been criticised by regulating the newspaper industry when the board is made up of newspaper editors.