Unasked questions about the Press Complaints Commission

Express apology to Kate and Gerry McCann – but should they have gone to the Press Complaints Commission instead?
Photograph: Martin Cleaver/AP

There may be concern about press regulation – but has the Media Standards Trust got to the nub of it?

Peter Preston The Observer, Sunday 24 January 2010

Consider one question. "Where there are signs of public concern, would you expect an independent press self-regulatory body to carry out an investigation into an article infringing the prime minister's privacy by recording a personal telephone call between the prime minister and a third party?" 73% say yes (definitely or probably) to Ipsos-Mori on that.

Or consider a slightly amended question: "When Jacqui Janes, the grieving mother of soldier killed in Afghanistan, talks on the phone to Gordon Brown, is she entitled to record that conversation, complain because he can't spell her name correctly, and pass the tape to a newspaper"?

I don't know the answer to that, because the pollsters (on contract to the reform-minded Media Standards Trust) didn't ask it. Nor did they exactly round out similar queries about an article "alleging that there are unexplained circumstances over the death of a pop star" or "accusations by a British newspaper that parents of a child were involved in the disappearance of their child".

Should the McCanns have gone to the Press Complaints Commission instead of winning £550,000 from the Express group in libel damages?

Adam Tudor: Lawyer of the Week

What was your most memorable experience as a lawyer?

"Naturally it would be pretty hard to top Mr and Mrs McCann’s victory against Express Group."