PCC to launch two new consultations in the autumn

The Press Complaints Commission is to launch two further consultations later in the year to look at industry convergence and to consider the impact of council funded newspapers on the local press.

In her first big interview since taking over the role as the commission’s new chairman in March, Baroness Peta Buscombe also indicated the watchdog would report back from its investigation into allegations of phone-hacking at the News of the World.

These developments follow an announcement last week that the PCC would undergo a six-month root to branch review of operations, conducted by a former Commissioner.

The planned converge consultation will look the implications of the PCC’s remit, which could bring it face to face with Ofcom over the regulation of video and audio online.

Buscombe told the Guardian there would be pressure for a quick-fix solution and that some MPs would prefer to regulate everything.

She said: ‘Self-regulation for a converged industry has to be the way forward…I know Ofcom won’t like me saying this but Ofcom is not independent of Government.”

The second consultation will examine the impact of council-funded newspaper on the local press, Buscombe added, and ask whether the PCC should regulate tax-payer funded titles.

This investigation will mark a second review of local council activities on the press. As part of his final Digital Britain report, published in June, Lord Carter asked the Audit Commission to assess the impact of council-run papers on local media.

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