PCC year at a glance
The PCC ran a seminar for working journalists at The Sunday Times. This is part of a renewed programme for the PCC to offer continuing training to journalists and editors in the application of the Code of Practice.
During 2010, the PCC undertook or arranged seminars at every national newspaper group, as well as magazine and regional titles. This programme is continuing in 2011.
PCC says Minogue pregnancy private until 12 weeks; information appearing elsewhere online not sufficient
One of the key pieces of privacy case law developed by the PCC is that newspapers and magazines should not generally reveal the existence of a pregnancy until after the twelve-week scan. This piece of jurisprudence has had a clear effect on how pregnancy is covered in the UK.
When the TV personality Dannii Minogue became pregnant, the newspaper and magazine industry (following contact from the PCC) refrained from publication. This included the Daily Mirror and Daily Record. However, they did publish before the end of the twelve-week period, on the grounds that the information had appeared in a blog on an Australian newspaper website.
The Commission did not think that this provided sufficient justification, saying:
'The Code specifically requires the Commission to have regard to the 'extent' to which the information has previously appeared. This was no more than common sense: otherwise, any reference online would represent automatic justification for a newspaper to publish otherwise intrusive material.'
PCC issues decision on Jan Moir column about Stephen Gately's death
This was an important ruling in the context of freedom of expression, which was discussed in last year's annual review. The ruling, despite the controversy surrounding the subject matter, was generally well received.
Working with bereavement support organisations
A member of PCC staff spoke at the Childhood Bereavement Network Annual Conference in Birmingham, explaining the protections afforded by the Code of Conduct to those suffering grief.
Information about the PCC was also included in the Ministry of Justice's new 'Guide to Coroners and Inquests'. It can be downloaded here
In February, they included:
‒ Passing on the wishes of a bereaved family that the press should not attend a funeral;
‒ Requesting that the press not contact a woman thought to be involved in a relationship with a celebrity;
‒ Passing on the request of a bereaved family that photographs of a body being placed into an ambulance be removed from online sites.