Ex-BBC chairman Michael Grade joins PCC

The Press Complaints Commission has appointed three new members including former BBC chairman Michael Grade.

Lord Grade, who was made a life peer earlier this year, joins the commission as a public member alongside solicitor Michael Smyth CBE and barrister Jeremy Roberts QC.

The PCC received almost 3,000 applications for the positions and the appointments were confirmed at a meeting of the PCC’s nominations committee.

Grade is a former executive chairman of ITV and the ex-chief executive of Channel 4. He now runs his own business developing theatrical ventures.

Smyth recently stood down as senior partner of City law firm Clifford Chance where he headed the public policy practice and led its pro-bono team. He is also chairman of UK whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work.

Roberts is permanent judge at the Central Criminal Court and sits in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), but will be retiring next month. Each will serve for period of three years.

The appointments come at a difficult time for the PCC, which has been criticised for its failure to act over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Mark Lewis, one of the lawyers acting for clients in the case, recently claimed ‘the PCC’s role as an independent regulator of the press is meaningless”.

Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday called for an independent review of newspaper regulation.

Commenting on the appointments, PCC chairman Baroness Buscombe said: ‘The commission has been very pleased at the level of interest shown in its role and its work and the very high quality of the applications received. These are important and significant appointments for the PCC.”

Grade said: ‘I am very pleased to have been selected to serve on the PCC. I hope that my long experience as a broadcaster and publisher will assist the commission in their key regulatory role.”

Roberts QC said he was looking forward to ‘the important task of resolving some of the tensions which sometimes arise between the freedom of the press and the legitimate rights of individual members of the public”.

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