The committee that oversees the Editors’ Code of Practice to which the British press subscribes voluntarily has changed the rules governing the publication of corrections.
From next year the prominence of corrections stemming from a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, which oversees press self-regulation in the UK, will have to be agreed with the press watchdog prior to publication.
The Editors’ Code Committee has changed Clause 1ii of the code, which covers accuracy, to now say: ‘A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.
‘In cases involving the commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance.”
Ian Beales, Code Committee secretary, said: “This amendment is designed to help kill the myth that newspapers and magazines routinely bury corrections.
‘Research conducted by the PCC has shown this to be untrue – nearly 85 per cent of PCC-negotiated corrections and apologies appear no further back than the original transgression, or in a designated corrections column.
“It is also the case that most editors already consult with the PCC informally on the position of corrections.
‘This change formalises that position in the hope that it will remove one, at least, of the misconceptions about the PCC and the self-regulatory system.”
The new rules will come into force on 1 January. The Code Committee has also announced that it will in future publish the full minutes of its meetings on its website.